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World Allergy Organization
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WAO Medical Book Review

Posted: February 2013

Dust Mites
By Matthew J Colloff
2009 Springer Netherlands
Jointly published with CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia
ISBN: 978-90-481-2223-3 (Print)
ISBN: 978-90-481-2224-0 (Online)

List Price: $189 (ebook); $239 (hardcover)
Available from: Springer

Reviewer:
Omursen Yildirim, MD
Sisli Etfal Training and Research Hospital
Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Department
Istanbul, Turkey

Description
This beautifully written book brings together a wide and comprehensive range of topics related to house dust mites. It also acts as a riveting biography of the dust mites, covering all aspects from taxonomy to life cycle.

Purpose
With the easily readable and engaging format, Dust Mites fulfills the author’s purpose "to provide a reference work for all those with an involvement or interest in house dust mite research, incorporating a single volume the topics of systematics, physiology, ecology, epidemiology, allergen biochemistry and mite control and allergen avoidance".

Audience
This book is addressed to individuals with a special interest in house dust mites and associated allergens.

Features
Each chapter includes a historical introduction followed by systematically organized in-depth knowledge. The outstanding feature of this book is the author’s brilliant, lucid use of language, especially recognized in the history of research sections. A welcome feature of each chapter is a well-chosen, thought provoking quote from a famous scientist or poet, which relatively relates to the content of the chapter. The reader will travel through interesting facts such as how the skin sheds of atopic or older people contribute a better living environment for dust mites with their lower lipid content than those of healthy non-atopics, or that house dust mites were even found in the Mir Space Station. My favorite part of the book was the history of textile fabrics which is correlated to dust mite existence. The author explains this part in the following words: “I could have chosen to leave out the history of textiles altogether, but I consider that the story of genesis of the house dust mite ecosystem would be glaringly incomplete without it. I hope my brief account here may serve to stimulate some future investigation.”

Assessment
This comprehensive yet highly readable guide is an excellent resource for reference and shall find itself a home on the shelves of readers interested in dust mites. I believe it will amply satisfy the inquisitive readers, for the book features everything there is to know about dust mites so far.