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This book is a concise review of the medically important aspects of microbiology and immunology. It covers both the basic and clinical aspects of bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and immunology. It also discusses important infectious diseases, using an organ system approach.

Its two major aims are (1) to assist those who are preparing for the USMLE (National Boards) and (2) to provide students who are currently taking medical microbiology courses with a brief and up-to-date source of information. The goal is to provide the reader with an accurate source of clinically relevant information at a level appropriate for those beginning their medical education.

This new edition presents current, medically important information in the rapidly changing fields of microbiology and immunology. It contains many color micrographs of stained microorganisms as well as images of important laboratory tests. It also includes many images of clinical lesions and highlights current information on antimicrobial drugs and vaccines.

These aims are achieved by using several different formats, which should make the book useful to students with varying study objectives and learning styles:

  1. A narrative text for complete information.

  2. A separate section containing summaries of important microorganisms for rapid review of the high-yield essentials.

  3. Sample questions in the USMLE (National Board) style, with answers provided after each group of questions.

  4. A USMLE (National Board) practice examination consisting of 80 microbiology and immunology questions. These questions are written in a clinical case format and simulate the computer-based examination. Answers are provided at the end of each block of 40 questions.

  5. Self-assessment questions at the end of the chapters so you can evaluate whether the important information has been mastered. Answers are provided.

  6. Clinical case vignettes to provide both clinical information and practice for the USMLE.

  7. A section titled “Pearls for the USMLE” describing important epidemiologic information helpful in answering questions on the USMLE.

  8. Many images of clinically important lesions seen in patients with infectious diseases described in this book are available on the McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center’s Web site (

The following features are included to promote a successful learning experience for students using this book:

  1. The information is presented succinctly, with stress on making it clear, interesting, and up to date.

  2. There is strong emphasis in the text on the clinical application of microbiology and immunology to infectious diseases.

  3. In the clinical bacteriology and virology sections, the organisms are separated into major and minor pathogens. This allows the student to focus on the most important clinically relevant microorganisms.

  4. Key information is summarized in useful review tables. Important concepts are illustrated by figures using color.

  5. Important facts called “Pearls” are listed at the end of each basic science chapter.

  6. Self-assessment questions with answers are included at the end of the chapters.

  7. The 654 USMLE (National Board) practice questions cover the important aspects of each of the subdisciplines on the USMLE: Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology, Parasitology, and Immunology. A separate section containing extended matching questions is included. In view of the emphasis placed on clinical relevance in the USMLE, another section provides questions set in a clinical case context.

  8. Brief summaries of medically important microorganisms are presented together in a separate section to facilitate rapid access to the information and to encourage comparison of one organism with another.

  9. Fifty clinical cases are presented as unknowns for the reader to analyze in a brief, problem-solving format. These cases illustrate the importance of basic science information in clinical diagnosis.

  10. Color images depicting clinically important findings, such as infectious disease lesions, Gram stains of bacteria, electron micrographs of viruses, and microscopic images of fungi, protozoa, and worms, are included in the text.

  11. There are 11 chapters on infectious diseases from an organ system perspective. They are written concisely and are appropriate for a medical student’s introduction to this subject. These chapters include Bone & Joint Infections, Cardiac Infections, Central Nervous System Infections, Gastrointestinal Tract Infections, Pelvic Infections, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Lower Respiratory Tract Infections, Infections of the Skin & Skin Structures, Urinary Tract Infections, Sepsis & Septic Shock, and Eye Infections.

After teaching both medical microbiology and clinical infectious disease for many years, I believe that students appreciate a book that presents the essential information in a readable, interesting, and varied format. I hope you find that this book meets those criteria.

Warren Levinson, MD, PhD
San Francisco, California
January 2020

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