Infection Control Today - 12/2001: Microbe Of The Month

Microbe of the Month
By Roger P. Freeman, DDS

Holiday humbug! A time for family, they say. Well, how about my family? It's not bad enough that my name means "creeping." I can't remember our last invitation. Truth is, invitations aren't too important to us... we're on board in one out of five mobile homes over the age of 12, anyway. That's about 45 mill... better demographics than Starbucks. 

The eight of us are a close-knit bunch (leave room in your "contact" manager - we keep finding new skeletons in our closet). We're a little sexist, favoring the female persuasion 50% more often than the clueless other option. And here's the key to our family legacy... we never go away! Once on board, always on board. We especially relate to your most immortal of cults... I think you call them teens! You might want to lay some CEUs onto this group, like, education fer shur. Check out www.asha.org to help stop the spread! 

As a family, we tend to gang up on our hosts. Lots of road trips up and down neurons, that sort of thing. We can drop in, yet remain silent, lying low and waiting for something to set us off. Stress, fatigue, taxes... or we can be screamers, going ballistic many times a year, causing no end of owies and emoticons. Some of us are simply as bad as we want to be.

Intros, please. I'm the Simplest. You can call me "1." Then there's " 2." (You can tell that Mom wasn't very creative in the name game.) Third in line is "Z." His nickname has something to do with roofing. Next comes EB. Took two people to name this lethargic loafer. CM is fifth. Don't even try to spell his real name... just keep your immunos intact. Lastly, there's 6, 7 and 8, along with their unsavory associates.

How do we get around? Some of us are partial to skin-to-skin. Others like the STeeDee route. Still others waft about as airborne-agains. We're all pretty opportunistic, especially CM. 

So, this holiday season, may your sleigh bells ring, but you may want to keep your fa-la-la's protected. For a free trip to Paris, or a special gift--whichever is less--name my pathogenic partridge family.

Roger P. Freeman, DDS, is a dental infection control consultant and president of Infectious Awareables, Inc., an infection control promotional company, at www.iawareables.com. Artwork provided by Infectious Awareables, Inc.

E-mail your answers to [email protected]. The names of the first 25 readers who supply the correct answer will be placed in a quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes. The answers to last month's mystery microbe are: Anopheles, Plasmodium falciparum, and Malaria.

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