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Vaccines. Preventing disease and protecting health
  1. Àngela Domínguez

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    Edited by Ciro A Quadros. Washington: Pan American Health Organisation, 2004, US$55.80, pp 398. ISBN 92-75-31596-5

    This is an excellent update for professionals working in immunisation programmes. It is presented in a very pleasant, easy to use edition and includes the papers presented at the conference “Vaccines. Prevention and public health: a vision for the future” organised by the Pan American Health Organisation in November 2002. The book’s chapters are written by leaders in their fields and discuss the progress achieved by the use of vaccines in most of the world’s immunisation programmes. It also describes the state of introduction of the newest vaccines currently available for immunisation and reviews progress in the development of vaccines against HIV, malaria, dengue, and other bacterial and viral diseases responsible for much mortality attributable to diarrhoeal and acute respiratory illness. In addition to an epilogue that deals with the programme and conclusions of the conference, the book contains a setting the stage section that tackles emerging and re-emerging diseases and immunisations in the past century and eight parts containing 44 short chapters that are easy to find and to read.

    Parts I and II review vaccines against diseases for which there are current immunisation programmes of elimination (polio, measles) or control (rubella and others), with the chapter “Accelerate control of rubella and prevention of congenital rubella syndrome” by Gina Tambini et al, being of special interest. Parts III and IV deal with vaccines that are not yet included in immunisation programmes. Part V includes a set of novel, interesting chapters on adjuvants and delivery systems (mucosal vaccines, DNA vaccines, oral vaccines from transgenic plants, and epidermal delivery of DNA vaccines). Part VI contains six chapters about those vaccines that are currently considered the most useful in preventing possible bioterrorism attacks, such as smallpox, anthrax, and viral haemorrhagic fevers. Part VII and VIII deal with regulatory and safety issues and the role of vaccines in prevention from the public health perspective. The chapters entitled “The consumers’ perspective”, by David Salisbury and “Perspectives for the elimination/eradication of diseases with vaccines”, by Walter R Dowdle are especially interesting. The only weakness of this book, if any, is the bibliography: although one chapter includes up to 83 references, eight chapters have only three or less.

    In summary, this is an important book that I strongly recommend to those working in public health and vaccinology.

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