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Hospital Infection: From Miasmas to MRSA

Hospital Infection: From Miasmas to MRSA


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  • Date Published: June 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521531788

£ 63.00

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About the Authors
  • This is an absorbing account of the continuing battle to control hospital infections, from the earliest days of hospital care when bad air or miasma was thought to be the cause, to the present day and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' such as MRSA and necrotizing fasciitis. It succeeds on many levels: as a fascinating social history of hospital care from mediaeval times, when patients endured verminous conditions, to the present day; as a survey of the rise, fall and emergence of new nosocomial infections; and as a chronological account of the emergence of medical microbiology and infection control. The pivotal roles of key personalities such as Joseph Lister, Florence Nightingale, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch are highlighted, and the history of this subject illuminates not only why hospitals and infections have had such an intimate and long relationship but one that seems destined to continue well into the future.

    • A fascinating study of the history of hospital infections right through to the present day and contemporary concerns about superbugs such as MRSA and necrotizing fasciitis
    • Illuminated with accounts of key personalities including Joseph Lister, Florence Nightingale, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch
    • Encompasses a history of hospital care and the emergence of medical microbiology and hospital infection control
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    • Runner-up - Royal Society of Medicine, Medical Book Awards

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is valuable reading for anyone who wants to know more about the current state of things and how we got here …'. Health Service Journal

    '… a fascinating account of how the relation between hospitals and infection has altered through the centuries …'. Lancet

    'Despite a daunting remit, the authors accomplish their task with panache, incorporating history and science in a book that manages to stay fresh and readable where the nature of the subject matter could have rendered it dry … full of fascinating snippets of information … the book is a valuable history of an extremely important subject, one that is often neglected in medical schools'. British Medical Journal

    '… the strength of the material that the authors have amassed make this a much more solid account of our journey to understand hospital-acquired infections and of the continuing battle to minimise their damaging effects on people's lives. This is valuable reading for anyone who wants to know more about the current state of things …'. Health Service Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521531788
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 173 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 29 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword by Bill Newsom
    1. Theories of infection: magic to miasmas
    2. Middle Ages to seventeenth century: hospitals and infection
    3. The eighteenth century: hospitals and infection
    4. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: typhus in military and civilian hospitals
    5. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: lying-in hospitals and puerperal infection
    6. The nineteenth century before Lister: military hospitals and wound infection, civilian hospitals and 'hospitalism'
    7. Theories of infection: miasmas to microbes
    8. Antisepsis to asepsis
    9. The twentieth century: hospital design and miscellaneous infections
    10. The twentieth century: emergence of antimicrobial chemotherapy and the demise of the haemolytic streptococcus
    11. Sterilization, the development of sterile services and disinfections
    12. The mid-twentieth century: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
    13. The mid-twentieth century: gram-negative infections
    14. The control of staphylococcal and gram-negative infections
    15. Surveillance of infections and organisation of infection control
    16. New and re-emerging infections
    17. The past, present and future

  • Authors

    Graham A. J. Ayliffe, University of Birmingham

    Mary P. English, United Bristol Hospitals Trust


    • Runner-up - Royal Society of Medicine, Medical Book Awards

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