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Sobriquet 35.8: I'm Not Certain Which is More Frightening

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Bad Thing #1: On the heels of the recent flurry of stories pertaining to Naegleria fowleri, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (henceforth MRSA) has been making waves in newspapers across the country. According to a story by The Washington Post's Rob Stein, United States health officials have reported that MRSA "causes more life-threatening infections than public-health authorities had thought and is killing more people in the United States each year than AIDS." In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that "[t]he microbe - a strain of a once innocuous staph bacterium that has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics, is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and nearly 19,000 deaths each year." Stein continues,

"The germ, spread by casual contact, rapidly turns minor abscesses and other skin infections into serious health problems, including painful, disfiguring "necrotizing" abscesses that eat away tissue.

The infections often can be treated by lancing and draining sores and quickly administering other antibiotics, such as Bactrim. But the microbe enters the lungs in some cases, causing unusually serious pneumonia, or spreads into bone, vital organs and the bloodstream, triggering life-threatening complications."

Bad Thing #2: The Associated Press reports that "[t]he nation's first baby boomer, a retired teacher from New Jersey, applied for Social Security benefits Monday, signaling the start of applications from the post-World War II boomer generation."

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Sobriquet 34.3: Another Reason to Avoid Spring Break

Friday, September 28, 2007
Sensationally billed as a "Brain-Eating Amoeba," Naegleria fowleri has been identified as the cause of Aaron Evans's death. According to a story appearing on KPHO-Phoenix's website, the Lake Havesu native "has become the sixth victim to die nationwide this year of a microscopic organism that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain."

According to Barnett Gibbs, a doctor writing for eMedicine.com, "[e]arly diagnosis, treatment, and aggressive supportive care hold the only chance for patient survival" of primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the disease caused by N fowleri. Even so, despite having been discovered nearly fifty years ago in Australia, "[f]ew people have survived PAM, and no standard treatment regimen has been developed" for victims of the disease.

At least Jaws was visible.

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