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

June 1, 2002

Surgeonin-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 ahands-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 onlyskin deep. Nary a nares we don't nuzzle, especially in you carriage-trade HCWtypes. Al's your basic vanilla type, just a commuter in the micromanagementgame. I, on the other hand, style-on in chic jaune, and demand some serious"control." Preferring the lull-and-launch approach, my poetic excesseslean toward purulence, abcesses, boils, pimples, exudate, bacteremias andsepticemias. As if that weren't enough, there are our two uncles, -carb andfur-! I'm a non-motile, spherical, golden globe candidate, a veritable clusterof 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 mostpto-main man at the picnic table, so you may want to mix a little SPF 30 in yourmayo. 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, currentlybatting .900 against the best of 'em. Give my best to the MRSA, will ya, andwhile you're at it, keep in mind I'm beginning to seriously accept VISA, so besure to leave home without it. Wear out my welcome by tending to "toidy"habits and advocating good ... ahem... personal hygiene, meticulous drainagedetail and lots of soap and water.

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

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

E-mail your answers to kpyrek@vpico.com,including your name, title and the name and location of your healthcarefacility. The names of the first 25 readers supplying the correct answer will beplaced in a quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes fromInfectious Awareables and Glo Germ Company. The answers to last month's mysterymicrobe are Yersinia Pestis, bubonic plague and bubos. For archived Microbe ofthe Month columns, log on to: www.infectioncontroltoday.com.