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Close Encounters of the Microbial Kind

Everything You Need to Know About Common Infections

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Perfect for anyone who is curious or concerned about everyday infections
  • An in-depth and fascinating look at common infectious diseases
  • Allows readers to explore the underlying microbiology or refer to as needed for specific advice
  • Current, verifiable, and accessible: a resource to combat the culture of rampant misinformation and non-expert speculation

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About this book

Microbes – can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Increasingly, we’re finding out that our microbiota (the microbes that live on us) are essential for our wellbeing – they provide us with nutrients and vitamins and play a key role in developing our immune system.  On the other hand, they are responsible for a great deal of misery, as they are major causes of death and debility around the world. As well as our own microbiota turning against us, there are lots of other microbes out in the wider world that can seriously damage, or even kill, those they infect. The current pandemic of COVID-19 shows the devastating effect that an infectious disease can have – our lives have been turned upside down.

If you live in a developed country, you’re not likely to get killer diseases such as ebola and cholera, but you do have a high chance of catching other infections that can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. This book focuses on thoseinfections you’re most likely to go down with, and supplies the answers to the following questions about them:
  • Which infectious diseases are we likely to come across?
  • How common are they?  
  • What microbes cause them?  
  • What happens to our bodies during an infection? 
  • How are the resulting illnesses treated?
  • How can we avoid getting them? 

This book covers nearly 60 infectious diseases that people living in developed countries are likely to experience at some point during their life. It also has an introductory chapter that describes, in everyday language, the basic principles of microbiology and infectious diseases. Each chapter is lavishly illustrated, has interesting, relevant inserts, and provides a list of web-accessible suggestions for further reading.

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Table of contents (36 chapters)

  1. Introduction to Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

  2. Skin Infections

  3. Infections of the Respiratory System

Authors and Affiliations

  • University College London, London, UK

    Michael Wilson

  • Brighton, UK

    Philippa J. K. Wilson

About the authors

Professor Michael Wilson is an Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at University College London and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. He has written 337 scientific papers and 12 books on microbiology and infectious diseases and has supervised the research projects of 35 PhD and 46 MSc students.  As well as carrying out research and teaching, he has 33 years experience in the laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases.  
Dr. Philippa J. K. Wilson graduated in medicine from Nottingham University Medical School in 1995 and then worked in hospitals for five years before becoming a General Practitioner in 2001.  She passed the exams for membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2009.  She currently works on the south coast of England as a Primary Care Physician/General Practitioner.

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