Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link
Volume 14, Number 6—June 2008
Books and Media

Imported Skin Diseases

Cite This Article

William R. Faber; Rod J. Hay; Ben Naafs, editors
Elsevier Gezondheidszorg, Maarssen, the Netherlands, 2006
ISBN-13: 9789035228047
Pages: 304; Price: US $69.95

The foreword to Imported Skin Diseases states, “This book was written and illustrated for the health professional in order to help in the diagnosis and management of patients with diseases acquired in another, often tropical, environment.” The book identifies an important clinical need for practitioners whose patients are traveling to an ever greater degree to more distant and exotic locales.

This book is neither an encyclopedic compendium of all tropical skin diseases nor a simple handbook for the house officer or medical student. The breadth of topics is broad, but some topics are discussed in great depth with good authority. The photographic images are clear and well chosen. Chapters that stand out include those on Pigmentary Disorders in Black Skin by J.P.W. van der Veen, M.F.E. Leenarts, and W.W. Westerhof; Coloured versus White Skin by B. Naafs; Buruli Ulcer by F. Portaels and W.M. Meyers; Tungiasis by H. Feldmeier and J. Heukelbach; Myiasis by D.A. Burns; and Beetle Dermatitis by P. Schmid-Grendelmeier and S. Haug.

The chapter Persistent Insect Bites by C.L.M. van Hees assumes that all mosquitoes are night biters. The author states that one can prevent mosquito bites by “avoiding being outside from dusk till dawn.” But this message misses the point because anopheline and other species bite from dusk to dawn, and Aedes and other species are day biters. This advice is really intended to help avoid contracting malaria, not being bitten.

At times, the writing is puzzling. For example, the chapter, Fever and Rash, by H.G. Schipper and P.A. Kager discusses loiasis and indicates that “fever is absent.” It is unclear why a chapter on fever would include a disease that has no fever. Loiasis is more fully covered in the later chapter, Onchocerciasis/Filariasis, by M. Murdoch, so its discussion in Fever and Rash is superfluous and out of place.

Many of the chapters were written by authorities whose first language was probably not English. These chapters could have been edited more carefully because grammatical errors interfere with comprehension. The same applies to the book’s typographical errors, which are too frequent to count.

Imported Skin Diseases is organized primarily by diagnosis rather than by syndrome. The disease descriptions are generally complete, with adequate sections on diagnosis and treatment. I discovered at the back of the book, almost by accident, some rather skimpy tables organized by syndrome (fever and rash, ulceration, eschar). I would have preferred this approach to be covered in greater detail because it would be much more useful to the Western practitioner who is confronted with a patient returning from the tropics with an undiagnosed skin disorder. For example, I have a patient in my office with an eschar. The patient has returned from a trip to Africa. What are the diagnostic considerations? Or, a patient has a rash and fever and has traveled widely throughout Asia; how can I approach a proper diagnosis?

As the book is written it could be useful as preparation for the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, certification examination of the International Society of Travel Medicine or American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, or perhaps as a primer for a physician who will travel to the tropics to practice medicine.


Kenneth Dardick*Comments to Author 
Author affiliation: *Connecticut Travel Medicine, Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut, USA


Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid1406.080223

Related Links


Table of Contents – Volume 14, Number 6—June 2008

EID Search Options
presentation_01 Advanced Article Search – Search articles by author and/or keyword.
presentation_01 Articles by Country Search – Search articles by the topic country.
presentation_01 Article Type Search – Search articles by article type and issue.



Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Kenneth Dardick, Connecticut Travel Medicine, 34 Professional Park Rd, Storrs Mansfield, CT 06268, USA;

Send To

10000 character(s) remaining.


Page created: July 09, 2010
Page updated: July 09, 2010
Page reviewed: July 09, 2010
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.