The fifth volume of Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases is focused on pediatric infectious diseases.

In modern medicine, the discipline pediatric infectious diseases is an important medical specialty. The successful prevention of childhood diseases like diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis has made a major contribution to the improvement of public health. Understanding the biology of causative agents and the pathogenesis is an essential step in achieving control and elimination of disease. Today pediatric infectious diseases research is closely interconnected with other disciplines.

This volume addresses vaccination, historical, epidemiological and socio-cultural issues as well as clinical and molecular biological aspects of pedi-atric infectious diseases. New insights into the pathogenesis of infection are presented and an update on diagnostics, prevention and treatment of pedi-atric bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic diseases is provided. The role of emerging new pathogens is also pointed out. Finally, the future perspectives of pediatric infectious diseases are highlighted. Therefore, this book aims at an interdisciplinary audience of clinicians and non-clinicians: pediatricians, infectious disease researchers, virologists, microbiologists as well as public health scientists and politicians.

We would like to sincerely thank the staff of Birkhäuser publishers, and notably Dr. Beatrice Menz, for editing this volume of the Advances in Infectious Diseases series. Most of all we would like to thank all our colleagues who are international experts and scientists in their respective field and who generously shared their knowledge in the broad interdisciplinary area of pediatric infectious diseases with us.

Düsseldorf/Wuppertal, Germany, December 2006 Horst Schroten

Stefan Wirth

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