Thursday, April 07, 2005

Revisiting Sallyh and Her Research

In the previous article here, "Downsizing and Degrading" we talked about Sallyh who was laid off in California. She works on statistics of infection. The key item here is the idea that viruses and bacterium, having short reproductive lives, can mutate many generations in mere days, unlike us human organisms.

The population boom on earth is due to several things, one of which is the suppression of viruses and bacterium that we don't like. Because of reckless use of the nostrums for containing diseases, we have created severe evolutionary pressure on them which they have handled quite nicely, from their own point of view.

So today, here is where we stand vis a vis the great war of germ vs human:

Study Finds Spread of Resistant Steph

Dangerous drug-resistant staphylococcus infections are showing up at an alarming rate outside hospitals and nursing homes in the United States, researchers are reporting today.

Until recently, these hard-to-treat cases were seen only in hospitals and other health-care settings, where they can spread to patients with open wounds or tubes and cause serious complications. Now doctors are seeing resistant strains among inmates, children and athletes. (This didn't mention soldiers and sailors!---ed)

In a study of patients in Baltimore, the Atlanta area and Minnesota, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 17 percent of the drug-resistant staph infections had no apparent links to health-care settings.

"Close to one-fifth of what used to be a hospital-specific problem is now a community problem. And that's a large number," said Dr. Scott K. Fridkin, an epidemiologist at the centers. "We didn't think it would be anywhere near that high when we started the study."

Note the time frame. At the beginning of the statistical study, the numbers outside of the hospital were very small, by the end, quite significant. I detect the roots of an epidemic here. If you know the history of hospitals, often they were viewed as scary places because of all the diseases that congregated there. Much of that was fixed by making hospitals more sterile. But now, with prions and with ever evolving germs in general, standard proceedures to cleanse things are beginning to fail. So what do we do?

Cut funding to statistical studies of such potential epidemics, of course.

This problem has been brewing a long time. Biologists have published studies warning about this happening and here it is, and little has been done to stop it from happening. Soon, there will be little to do to stop this.

The Four Horsemen: coming to a theater near you. (Time to study evolution, no?)

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