The Dictionary of Virology, 4th Edition.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Brault, Aaron
Pub Date: 08/01/2010
Publication: Name: Emerging Infectious Diseases Publisher: U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases ISSN: 1080-6040
Issue: Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 8
Topic: NamedWork: The Dictionary of Virology, 4th ed. (Reference work)
Persons: Reviewee: Mahy, Brian W.J.
Accession Number: 237533380
Full Text: The Dictionary of Virology, 4th Edition

Brian W.J. Mahy

Academic Press, Burlington,

Massachusetts, USA, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-12-373732-8

Pages: 520; Price: US $73.95

Rapidly expanding technologies in the field of virology, identification of novel viral agents, and the 2005 report (8th edition) of the International Congress of Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) addressing reclassification of several viruses generated the 20% new material in Mahy's 4th edition of The Dictionary of Virology. The previous edition of this book was published in 2001; the 2009 edition includes recent advancements, such as newly described viruses (e.g., severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) human coronavirus, human metapneumoviruses, bocaviruses, and Rabensburg virus), reclassification schemes of viruses (for instance, the unassigned Anellovirus genus), and descriptions of new technologies (e.g., microarray analyses and microRNAs) that have profoundly affected the field of virology. This comprehensive desk reference provides concise definitions of virologic terms; enables quick fact checking; and provides useful, often difficult to find, information--such as the origin of virus names, determination of ICTV-approved virus abbreviations, and locations and sources of viral isolations. An appendix of current ICTV-recognized virus families, subfamilies, genera, and type species is especially useful.

However, this reference is limited to viruses infecting vertebrate hosts; thus, it excludes viruses of plants, bacteria, fungi, invertebrates (except for arboviruses that have dual replication cycles within invertebrates and vertebrate hosts) or viruses (the newly described virophages of mimiviruses). The increasing quantity of information about viruses of vertebrates ranging from fish to primates presented the author with considerable space difficulties. He compensated for this situation, however, by citing literature sources at the end of entries for readers seeking more information. Additionally, considerable cross-referencing enhances the utility of the book. On the basis of inclusion of new information in the field and my personal experience with previous editions of The Dictionary of Virology, I highly recommend this volume to students, virologists, microbiologists, and public health professionals interested in viruses of vertebrate hosts.

Aaron Brault

Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Address for correspondence: Aaron Brault, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3150 Rampart Rd/Foothills Campus, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA; email:

DOI: 10.3201/eid1608.100778
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