Lennette’s Laboratory Diagnosis of Viral Infections
One of the great joys of editing this latest version of Laboratory Diagnosis of Viral Infections has been learning more about the original editor, Dr. Edwin H. Lennette. Although I never had the privilege of meeting Ed, the stories and anecdotes cheerfully offered by his many friends and colleagues have made me feel as if I knew him. At the same time, this has presented a problem— to try to meet the impossibly high bar Ed set as an editor who also had a distinguished career as a scientist and diagnostician. Although it would be futile to try to fill Ed’s shoes, I hope that this text fulfills the promise to inform the field he loved so well. To honor Ed, then, it is altogether fitting that this series has been renamed Lennette’s Laboratory Diagnosis of Viral Infections.
A major challenge in assembling this text was finding a niche not already occupied by any of the other excellent books touching upon diagnostic virology. This inspired a significant reorganization. As in previous editions, the work is divided into two parts. Part one is similar in scope to that of the previous editions and provides a detailed description of the various techniques forming the foundation of modern diagnostic virology. Part two, on the other hand, presented a greater challenge. A simple listing of virus families and their various clinical man- ifestations was clearly the easiest option, but this approach has already been well traveled. Instead, we have taken a syndromic approach, an idea originally suggested by my colleague, Dr. Yi-Wei Tang. Thus, if presented with a patient having symptoms of viral encephalitis, for example, readers can now refer to the chapter on CNS infections, where they will find a dif- ferential diagnosis of potential causative agents, along with suggestions for the appropriate diagnostic approach. While this reorganization has brought its own challenges in avoiding redundancy and omissions, I believe this unique approach will make the book particularly valuable to students of infectious disease as well as laboratorians.
Clinical virology has changed at an astounding pace in the 10 years since publication of the previous edition, and this edition has been completely rewritten to reflect this new reality. Molecular techniques continue to grow in importance and are covered in depth by new chapters on a variety of topics, including the design of molecular tests, the importance of genotyping and viral sequence analysis, and the use of microarrays in diagnostic virology. Another emerging theme is the increased awareness of global health issues, reflected here by a new chapter regarding viral testing in resource-limited settings. Finally, new associations continue to be made between clinical disease and viruses, and these are discussed in the chapters on respiratory infections, polyomavirus infections, hemorrhagic fevers, and elsewhere throughout the book.
The process of bringing this edition to reality owes much to Maria Lorusso at Informa, who initially brought the project to my attention, and Aimee Laussen, also of Informa, who has taken care of innumerable logistical issues since the early days of the project. I would also like to thank my colleague, Dr. Rhoda Morrow, for advice and support at many stages along the way.
In his preface to the first edition, Ed stated that the book was directed toward the labo- ratorian who needs a ready reference source to assist in reaching a laboratory diagnosis of a viral infection. This remains the goal of the new edition; no easy task given the rapid changes in technology, the continuing emergence of new viruses, and newly described viral etiologies for clinical syndromes. I hope that readers of this new edition will find the book useful and will gain a little of Ed’s enthusiasm for this ever changing and endlessly fascinating field.
Keith R. Jerome
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