Infection Control Today - 04/2002: Microbe of the Month


I'm100 times more infectious than HIV! I guess I'm gonna have to lodge a complaintwith the IOC. In the pantheon of pathogens, my sibs and I are surely medalmeddlers, dudes. Alas, you'd never know it by my PR. Maybe we need to do lunch.Better yet, maybe we'll be in lunch.

We're a pedigreed viral family, newly named but anciently active while newmates are coming on board all the time. Our names are pre-school simple; lookslike we're gobbling up the alphabet. Pity poor Charlie's identity crisis'd you like to be called non-Smith, non-Jones for most of your life? He'sgetting even now!

We work our mischief in the hostel hepatica, a couple of us working fast, hotand up front, the rest preferring to cavort chronically. Sometimes you mightspot a tawny tint, but not as often as you might suspect. Speaking of rainbowcoalitions, how about clay-colored stools, tea-colored urine ... a technicolordreamcoat, if ever!

Breaking and entering is a cinch for us, each working in our own wondrousway. A-cute goes for the traditionally repulsive f-o approach; N-here, N-therestarted out transfusing, now prefers the pointy pathway, sharer's thereof; Br'er4 doesn't go anywhere without me, moi preferring the b-stream route, or"loving" but unprotected situs. The other guys work with water, blood,detritus. You name it ... we've got it covered.

Get a drop of me in your circ de soleil, odds are 1 in 3 you're mine, with 6percent probably carrying for life. A quarter of the 6'ers won't make it. I"share" myself with 1-in-20 Americans, and especially like the 20-49demos. Hail the halls of IV. The college crowd scarcely knows I'm around, muchless that there's a safe, effective re-combo vaccine. Maybe if we tell 'em aboutMr. (H)Big, they'd show some interest. Of course, that's not going to help 'emwhen Charlie -- the leading cause celebre for transplants -- has his way,now, or much, much later.

We were born to be bad. Tell lots of friends. For an Enron-vested 401(k) or anice gift, whichever is worth more, name me and my seven-ingredient contagiouscassoulet!

Roger P. Freeman, DDS, is an dental infection control consultant andpresident of Infectious Awareables, at images are courtesy of Infectious Awareables Inc.

E-mail your answers to,including your name, title and the name of your healthcare facility. The namesof the first 25 readers supplying the correct answer will be placed in aquarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes. The next drawing willtake place in May 2002 and the winners' names published in the June 2002 issue.The answers to last month's mystery microbe are: Poliovirus, Poliomyelitis, Salkand Sabin.

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