Infection Control Today - 11/2002: Microbe of the Month

I am sooo NOT like your other MOMs. First of all, I'm a patriotic sort andjust can't resist a man in uniform. No, I'm not one of those bump and run,trashy serotypes, even though I did make my rep ... ahem ... in hotel rooms withthe convention crowd. Bicentennial Philadelphia cradled my legend, althoughhindsight later shed light on my '47 and '57 floats of fancy.

I drove the contagion cowboys nuts -- a mysterious outbreak, six months ofpercolating before my formal naming. Like a lot of kids today, I didn't testwell. Stayed well hidden (just going through a 'phage'), so none of the standardstuff revealed my innermost self. The only thread of evidence evaporated down toa building! But I sure impressed a lot of the cap-set with fever, chills andmuscle aches. For the unfortunate, I did some delirium, progressing to pneumoniadelecti and ultimately, the stat column. I had the media so frenzied, theypushed Ebola right off the rag sheets. After all, Ebola was "overthere;" I was in Philadelphia, Martha!

Since that time, I've become a world traveler, mostly as a result of y'allschanging environment and behaviors. Along with my pals, Lyme and HIV, I put the"E" in emergent, a real original. And how about that "A" inaerobiological engineering? (What is that, anyway?). I do tend to floataround in aerosol communicado, preferring A/C cooling towers, spas, whirlpools,humidifiers and the like. And I'm a genuine nosocomial nuisance, don'tcha know.

I'm also pretty fastidious, if I do say so myself. Like most of you, I haveneeds: good grub (amoebae), moist milieu (can you "Play Misty forMe"), and of course, my favorite triple S, 3-diamond amenities: scum,sludge and stagnation.

I'm not known as a "lung lover" for nothing. I do my real damagedeep in the alveolar alleys, getting most serious with the immune-compromised,heavy smokers and the otherwise lungerly challenged. Diag is no slam dunk,either, 'cause I'm most often what you get, not what you see! My soulmate is amilder form of illness, ingeniously named after your old Grand Am.

For an aerobiological gift-pack of used shower nozzles, faucets and veggiemisters, name my gram neg bacterial self, and my common usage stage name. Andthen, everyone into the hot tub!

Roger P. Freeman, DDS, is a dental infection control consultant and presidentof Infectious Awareables, at

E-mail your answers to,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 Ebola and USAMRIID. For archived Microbe of the Month columns, logon to: