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Microbe of the Month

By Roger P. Freeman, DDS September 2001

Dr. Freeman contributes a monthly article to Infection Control Today®, a professional journal dedicated to continuing education, information and dialogue for the infection control community.

Microbe of the Month is designed to challenge your central processing abilities while rewarding your surveillance skills. Use the "Contagious Clues" provided to determine the identity of our mystery microbe, then submit your answer to [email protected]. The names of the first 20 readers who supply the correct answer will be placed in a quarterly drawing for infection control-related prizes. The monthly winners and the identity of the mystery microbe will be revealed in next month's issue, and the quarterly prize winners will be announced in the December 2001 issue of Infection Control Today ┬«.

"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 burn 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, at

Slide image provided by C. Harold King, PhD,
Emory School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

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