Review originally posted on Life in the Fast Lane. Read it there for original formatting!


LITFL Book Review: Graphic Guide to Infectious Disease

From the creators of Toxicology in a Box comes a Graphic Guide to Infectious Disease.

The latest collaboration between an emergency physician (Brian Kloss) and a graphic artist (Travis Bruce), the book to be published in 2019 is an easy to digest quick-reference guide to common infectious diseases. Drawing on a comic cast including cameos from ZDoggMD, a version of Mike Cadogan you can play knifey-spoony with… and Motezuma himself.

The book illustrates symptoms, risk-factors and throws shade at restaurant chains (past and present) associated with each infection


Kloss and Bruce have lived up to their hope of creating a book that is “real medical education with comic book-style illustrations to create beautiful artistic images that enhance learning”. Presented over two-page spreads it discusses each infection in an easy to digest fact-sheet-style summary, with a comic book-style illustration of symptoms, risk-factors, and interesting facts on the next page.

At first appearance this book appears to be light-hearted medical satire, or a book aimed at a younger audience, but it is in fact a fantastic reference guide to infectious diseases, summarizing the salient points of each infection in an easy to assimilate format.


Chapters: Graphic Guide to Infectious Disease

What I liked

  • Easy to follow book, great summary of the relevant clinical features of each infection.
  • Cartoons were comical with depictions of bodily fluids reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy.
  • Presents symptoms described in text with a comical presentation.
  • Acknowledges the development of new treatments to hepatitis C and emerging resistance, encouraging doctors to check more up-to-date sources.

Things to consider

Various sections were written by different authors and some sections suffer from inconsistent terminology (PCR, polymerase chain reaction and nucleic-acid amplification for instance).


  • A fantastic reference guide to infectious diseases for visual learners. It covers a wide breadth of infectious diseases in an entertaining and informative manner.
  • The book acknowledges fast-changing nature of treatment for several conditions (whether due to technological change, or emerging resistance) and encourages doctors to check the current state of play.
  • Reading Kloss’ and Bruce’s work was a fantastic re-fresher in clinical infectious diseases.
  • The comical delivery style makes it an engaging learning-resource for students, and the cartoons are excellent lecture slide fodder (when covered by fair use clauses or the express written consent of the authors).