Infection Control Today - 02/2002: Microbe of the Month

Microbe of the Month
By Roger P. Freeman, DDS

NP, AOM, CAP, URI, HAP, IPD, APD, VAP...whoa! Sounds like a serious outbreak of polyacronymuria. How 'bout I let you arrange the alphabet, while I do my most excellent colonizing, infecting, resisting thing! In many of the finest circles, I'm considered the baddest diplo-dude your mom and dad never heard of. Bet they remember the nasty otiti, though. I do about 7 million in AOM gigs a year, mostly on the tyke-types between 12 and 18 months. I'm also on board at most daycare centers, qualifying dcc's as preferred pathogenic playpens. AOM is bad, but I can get even badder. In fact, I'm one of the main men in the US deadness game, and right up there at the top with all the big guys offshore. Deadly, yes, but I'm not such a heavyweight in the bravery part. I do my best work on little ones, lackammunos, and AARPs. As a crafty commensal, I set up shop in your UR freeway, springing into action at the first sign of a viral infection (crazy about working with flu-zies). And this is only part of my story. I really make a name for myself in the halls of hospitalia, where I'm a certified nozo-nightmare. Once I lay claim as a HAP (close to 1% of admitees), I'm the deadliest of all the guys. With up to a 30% mortality success rate, how proud am I? Beat up your people about HW, suctioning techniques, and ventilator management (!), why don't 'cha? And if all these credentials aren't enough (as if!), have you seen my MVP stats on resistance to the infective police. 25 - 50% of the time, I giggle now at penicillin. (Was it only 35 years ago, I couldn't get arrested after penicillin?) As DRSP, I'm gaining on other meds as well. Are you hearing footsteps, yet? I should mention I suffered a recent setback with the updated NCCLS MIC breakpoints, due Jan 2002. Some ceftomeds may work better than y'all thought. Check it out. Not to mention a 23-skidoo and grossly underused vaccine especially right-on for the silver circle set. Don't use it, don't lose it, I always say. So, keep an eye out for me. I'm a Gram-plus, halo imaging, polysaccharide encapsulated, p-to-p transmitted, droplet loving, earache partying, brain inflaming, pneumonia causing, diploccoccal fool... and if you're not initial-challenged, you can win a new Lexus or a nice gift (our choice) by naming me and a few of my pals, AOM, CAP, HAP, and DRSP. PS... did you really think it was gonna be easy?

Roger P. Freeman, DDS, is a dental infection control consultant and president of Infectious Awareables, at

E-mail your answers to, including your name, title, and the name of your healthcare facility. The winners of the next quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes will be published in the April 2002 issue. The answer to last month's mystery microbe is giardia lamblia.

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