Infection Control Today - 03/2002: Microbe of the Month

Microbe of the Month
By Roger P. Freeman, DDS

Microbe of the Month

By Roger P. Freeman, DDS
Dateline: Urban Tora Bori, India, Africa, Asia.

Dear ICTees,
Alas, if some people have their way, this could be one of my last transmissions. Things are not going well for me. It just doesn't seem many folks piling it on: WHO, UNICEF, even the Rotarians! Everyone's out to "e" me into oblivion alongside the greatest, the one and only, my variolar scourgemate.

Things were going great for me in the first 54 of the 20th century. Lots of serious epidemics... swimming pools, parent panic, poster children. Then came 1955, then '62. The "V" word. And S x 2. Who were those guys, anyway? To make matters worse, in 1988 a bunch of future dot.orgs decided to full-court press me out of the kripple-kids biz, targeting 2000 for the global gangledopper. Thought I might end-run the campaign, sneak in a few ringers... but the CDC caught on and now recommends the pointy V instead of the sugar cube. Just because the S model was made with live relatives, leaving eight statesiders infected in '00, instead of protected. Picky, picky!

No more tiny tummies, node knobbing, or sometimes (less than 1/100), a CNS bulls-eye. I must be from Mars, 'cause I'm basically a motor thing and don't have much of a sensitive side. Flaccid's not an attractive concept in any case, but combine it with a paralysis analysis, an early viral count, and Sonny once said, "You got me, babe."

Looking on my bright side, the vaccine vigilantes will have a big job "mopping" me up in every single nook and fanny out there. (I behave like an entervirus, so that's important!) I last visited the states in '79, Haiti and Dominican Republic in 2000, and now I have to lurk around in the world's Club Dreads... war-torn, isolated, inaccessible. Considering my travel itinerary, the troops will need a legion of elephants, camels, and helicopters--and an army of volunteers--to score a perfect 100% of little ones under age 5. Target date for lights-out has already been pushed back to 2005, so I'm worried, but not ready to hang up my RNA just yet. Name me, my disease, and the two guys you owe big-time for the beginning of my end!

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

E-mail your answers to The names of the first 25 readers who supply the correct answer will be placed in a drawing for infection control-related prizes. The answers to last month's mystery microbe are: Streptococcus pneumoniae; AOM (acute otitis media), CAP (community acquired pneumonia), HAP (hospital acquired pneumonia), and DRSP (drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae).


APRIL 2002

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)
Annual Congress
Anaheim, CA

Infectious Disease of Adults
Sponsored by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
Cambridge, MA

MAY 2002

International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM)
Orlando, FL

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
Annual Conference
Nashville, TN


Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM)
San Antonio, TX


American Society for Healthcare Central Service Professionals (ASHCSP)
San Antonio, TX

Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA)
Annual Meeting
Chicago, IL


International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM)
San Antonio, TX

Send your event information to

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