Dengue: Topics in International Health CD-ROM. 2005

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  • 1 Department of Virology and Immunology
 Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
 San Antonio, TX 78245-0549

The increased transmission and geographic dispersal of dengue, the most important mosquito-borne viral disease of humans (50–100 million infections/year), has made its control an international public health priority. Unfortunately, there are still no effective vaccines or antiviral agents against dengue fever or the more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever. Thus, it becomes of utmost importance to inform professionals and the public, especially those who are experiencing dengue transmission/epidemics for the first time, of what little we know about the virus and its vector, and especially, of its clinical presentations and treatment. This interactive CD-ROM (Windows base only) is the best compilation of broad and specific concepts concerning dengue I have seen to date. It has been reviewed by numerous experts in the field and contains contributions by the World Health Organization (WHO). Its portability, low cost to individuals (£5 in developing countries and £30 in others), and ability to print or project the image collections and videos makes it useful in transmitting the information to others, wherever that may be. However, it would be useful to have a Macintosh version and some way of updating the information.

The information, videos, and image collection (462 photographs and diagrams) are organized into 10 sections or tutorials (with self-tests at the end of each): Overview; Epidemiology; Transmission; Pathology and Pathogenesis; Clinical Diagnosis; Laboratory Diagnosis; Case Management; Prevention and Control; Research; and Social, Economic, and Behavioral Aspects. I found two animations/videos especially interesting: the dengue transmission cycle and the virus infection/replication cycle, with explanations directed at both the public and professionals, with the latter containing transmission electron micrographs of actual replication/maturation events. There are also good illustrations of clinical diagnosis and laboratory tests, including more up-to-date reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction tests and the complicated tourniquet test. For medical professionals, the section on research is especially informative; complex concepts such as antibody-dependent-enhancement of infection and T cell cross-reactivity are explained in the context of immunopathogenesis, and many references to original publications describing these and other concepts are given. Controversial issues such as the WHO clinical case definition schemes are discussed, with very balanced discussion of their limitations. There are ample illustrations of vector field collection techniques and specific country examples of social programs that have helped control mosquito populations and reduce human exposure. Thus, this collection impresses by its range of subjects, attention to detail, and the leads to further information.

This CD-ROM is very timely, and highly recommended to professionals, students, and teachers at all levels to effectively provide information and resources to those potentially affected by this disease, almost half the population of the globe.

Author Notes

E-mail: rricoh@sfbr.org
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