Infection Control Today - 01/2003: Microbe of the Month

January 1, 2003

And just when you thought your 'skeeter problems were over ... it goes toshow, some of us old, boring vector-models can still gorge with the best ofthose trendy new emergent types. Got my first break in '37 (fond-a Uganda),traveled extensively though Africa, Asia and the near East. Appears like my U.S.licensee is a close cousin of them '98 Israeli geese I goosed.

Loved the summer of 1999 in NYC, my maiden voyage to the Western Hem. I didmanage to "impress" 45 unsuspecting cases, seven of them permanently.I'm a Flaviviral vagabond, usually leaving febrile/flu-like clues along with theusual algias, my- and arthr-. But I can roar on occasion, crossing the BBB(blood/brain barrier, what else?) and racking up, big-time, on the meningo-meter.

I'm fond of avifauna, (think: feathers), but I take to equines on occasion. Icome to you courtesy of your tiny friends at Culex Air, themosquito-made-for-mayhem. The little buzzers typically put the feed-bag on myinfected birdie friends, then turn around and inject me into the nearest exposedpeople-dermis.

Actually, I'm a work in progress; looks like I can commute by organtransplant, breast milk and maybe even the sexual bump and run. New Yorkers"abated" me (imagine, calling me a "nuisance") through somevery cool detective work and trans-agency coordination, not likely to happen insome of the other 40-plus states in which I've set up shop. Thirty-five hundredcases in 2002 so far, with 187 decedents. In case you're wondering, being adecedent does not mean you inherit something.

Keeping me contained is going to be a challenge to your PH folks. You'll needto curtail my lifestyle some: eliminate standing pools of water, spray with"adulticides" (that can't be pleasant), fumigate clothes and exposedparts with DEET, minimize outside exposure during dawn, dusk and early eveninghours. Don't you just love the outdoors?

You'd be optimistic to think I'm the last pestilence to cross the pond, soyou might as well make me a part of your learning curve. For a jug ofN,N-diethyl-metatoluamide, a copy of my new CD, "Living Large withLarvae," or a really nice, non-aerosol gift, name me and the condition Itypically cause.

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

The answers to last month's mystery microbe are Aspergillis and mold. Forarchived Microbe of the Month columns, log on to: