Infection Control Today - 06/2002: Microbe of the Month

Microbe of the Month
By Roger P. Freeman, DDS

Surgeon in-general warning: Some parts of this column may conflict with ... lunch. (Life, as usual, on the infection patrol!)

Epi dermis ubiquitum, or as they say, "I'm on it." I'm a hands-on/on-hands commensal, surfing scales until I can go parasitic on you. Brother Al and I have been accused of being shallow sorts, beauty being only skin deep. Nary a nares we don't nuzzle, especially in you carriage-trade HCW types. Al's your basic vanilla type, just a commuter in the micromanagement game. I, on the other hand, style-on in chic jaune, and demand some serious "control." Preferring the lull-and-launch approach, my poetic excesses lean toward purulence, abcesses, boils, pimples, exudate, bacteremias and septicemias. As if that weren't enough, there are our two uncles, -carb and fur-! I'm a non-motile, spherical, golden globe candidate, a veritable cluster of luster and just your luck ... I've got you covered!

I work your pathogenic pagodas and (too) often give new meaning to "in-dwelling," if you "cath" my drift. I'm the second most pto-main man at the picnic table, so you may want to mix a little SPF 30 in your mayo. Psst, I can shock your, uh, socks off, when I go toxic.

Time was, Pen G-men had my number. Now I'm a penicillin-ace, currently batting .900 against the best of 'em. Give my best to the MRSA, will ya, and while you're at it, keep in mind I'm beginning to seriously accept VISA, so be sure to leave home without it. Wear out my welcome by tending to "toidy" habits and advocating good ... ahem... personal hygiene, meticulous drainage detail and lots of soap and water.

My favorite TV program is Wheal of Fortune, and I'm not only quick, I'm fester, too. And obviously shameless. For a flight to the south of France, or a really nice gift, whichever takes fewer security checks, name me, my pigment-challenged bro and my mighty toxic self.

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 and location of your healthcare facility. The names of the first 25 readers supplying the correct answer will be placed in a quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes from Infectious Awareables and Glo Germ Company. The answers to last month's mystery microbe are Yersinia Pestis, bubonic plague and bubos. For archived Microbe of the Month columns, log on to:

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