Infection Control Today - 09/2001: Microbe of the Month

My relatives are found in the environment, but not me; I dig stand-up types. I like to lurk around until my host's defenses are down. I'm always looking for a Big Mac rophage from which to rent space. I usually bum rides by droplet, and I've got a better "hang time" than "his royal Airness" Michael Jordan. Viruses-especially HIV-- really provoke me, helping pump up my disease rate. The best way to ID me is by taking a prickly test, but getting rid of me will take at least four meds. My resistant alter ego will challenge you to the max. When I'm made up, my bodacious bacilli are called "red snappers." I used to be known as consumption, and I'm one of the most prolific killers in history. I've been around for millenniums, and I'm not going away any time soon. Who am I?

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

E-mail your answers The names of the first 25 readers who supply the correct answer will be placed in a quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes. Winners of the first quarter drawing will be announced in the February 2002 issue. The answers to last month's mystery microbe are: HSV 1 (Herpes Simplex), HSV 2 (Genital Herpes), Herpes Zoster, Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes 6, 7, 8.