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Minute marauders

Microbes and Disease: A Teaching support pack for secondary school science

Free from Society for General Microbiology, Malborough House, Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Reading RG7 1AG. Tel 0118 988 1800

The Society for General Microbiology has produced two A1 full-colour posters and a CD-Rom which the Society believes are "fully flexible, allowing it to be modified by teachers to suit the needs of their students".

Most of the content will be useful from GCSE to A-level, but there are one or two photographs or drawings, like the one which shows how droplets scatter in a sneeze, that will help teaching hygiene to younger pupils. One poster is a flow diagram revealing "How microbes reach us". The information is up-to-date as one of the diseases shown to be transmitted by sneezing is SARS.

The other poster, with an outline of the body, shows its three lines of defence. Here, there are some good photographs, some of which, like the sebum around a hair follicle and the slice through an impetigo-infected lip, appear in the CD-Rom's PowerPoint presentation.

There are 63 slides in this presentation, an introduction, which gives the five categories of microbe as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and algae and definitions of terms such as pathogen, infection and disease. Other sections show how microbes get into the body, overcome defence mechanisms, are treated and how they leave.

The diagrams, photos and micrographs are good. This will be a useful resource and especially welcome for revision and for students who have missed lessons.

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