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July, 2011

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8reasonswhy you may not want to use antibacterial products at home.

Triclosan 5

The antibacterials, Triclosan and triclocarban, are now being added to most everything from cutting boards, clothing, mattresses, and toys; to hand soaps, lotions, toothpaste, and deodorants.

Triclosan 6

Here are some reasons why this may not be such a good idea…

  1. According to the FDA, studies have shown that Triclosan containing soap had no advantage over regular soap in preventing infectious disease in a healthy household.
  2. Triclosan, while killing susceptible organisms, will select for more resistant and potentially pathogenic organisms.
  3. Triclosan has been found in increasing amounts in wastewater, leading to eventualcontaminationof environmental water, and has even been showing up in municipal drinking water supplies, since the compound does not break down in nature.

Triclosan 7

  1. Triclosan contamination has been shown to disrupt the endocrine hormone systems of numerous animals.
  2. Triclosan has been detected in breast milk, blood, and urine of humans. In fact, a recentstudyfound that 75% of the U.S. population has triclosan in their urine.
  3. Triclosan reacts with chlorine residues in tapwater to form chloroform, a “probable human carcinogen.”
  4. According to the “Hygiene Hypothesis,” the increased use of antimicrobials in the household could lead to an increased incidence of allergies, eczema, and asthma in children.
  5. A recentstudyshows that Triclosan may cause problems with pregnancy and childbirth due to its interference in estrogen metabolism.

Stuart Levy from Tufts University, who is concerned about the over-use of household antibacterials, said at a CDC conference:

We exist in the bacterial world, not bacteria in ours. Unfortunately, we believe that we can rid ourselves of bacteria when, in fact, we cannot. Instead, we should “make peace” with them. Although we need to control pathogens when they cause disease, we do not have to engage in a full-fledged “war” against the microbial world.”

More information from the CDC.

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More consumer information.

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Ever wonder where

this one came from?

“Cowabunga” was popularized by surfers in the 1960’s, but the origin goes back another decade to the childrens TV show,Howdy Doody.

Howdy Doody

On the show, Chief Thunderthud would say “Kowabonga” when things were going bad for him.

chief thunderthud

Somehow, surfers picked this up to mean a particularly good ride. The term was resurrected once againandspreadworldwidein 1990when used intheTVcartoonTeenageMutant NinjaTurtles.”

~ ~ ~

Think about it…

The Thinker

  • How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?
  • When someone says “You know what they say…” Who are they?
  • How is it possible to have a civil war?
  • If sunflower oil is made of sunflowers, what is baby oil made of?
  • Why is a boxing ring square?

Foot in Mouth Disease

Jason Kidd

“I’m going to turn this team around 360 degrees.”

~ Jason Kidd ~

Commenting on how he would

improve the struggling Dallas Mavericks after he joined the team in 1994.

Wisdom to ponder…

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet

Rated as the world’s wealthiest man in 2008 with a fortune of $62 billion. His rank has since slipped since he began a philanthropy program in which he intends to give away 99% of his wealth.

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

“Americans are in a cycle of fear which leads to people not wanting to spend and not wanting to make investments, and that leads to more fear. We’ll break out of it. It takes time.”

“I think the most important factor in getting out of the recession actually is just the regenerative capacity of American capitalism.”

“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

“Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”

“Government run gambling is nothing more than a tax on ignorance.”

“I don’t believe in dynastic wealth, that is, members of the ‘lucky sperm club.'”

“I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”

“The arithmetic makes it plain that inflation is a far more devastating tax than anything that has been enacted by our legislatures.”

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”


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  • Is celebrating its 31styear of serving microbiologists?
  • Manufactures over3,000 productsfor microbiology for you to choose from.
  • Maintains seven distribution centers in the U.S. for faster turn around time to your lab.
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  • Offers you its technical manual,HUGO, which contains over 4,500 pages of information regarding microbiology.
  • Maintains a worldwide network of over 30 distributors.
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Micro Musings..

July 2011 cartoon

Case Histories from Dr. Joe
DiPersio - small

Can you name

that Pathogen?

A 36 year old male from Southeast Asia presented with recurrent syncope (fainting), a closed head injury, anemia, and a GI bleed. A hemocult was positive and his hemoglobin was 5.9.

A CT of the head was negative and a colonoscopy was performed. Below is a photo from the colonoscopy.

case history 2 - fig 1

A portion of the specimen was sent to the lab along with some intestinal contents and structures similar to those seen below were observed under the microscope.

case history 2 - fig 2

What is your diagnosis?

Find out here.

Joseph DiPersio, PhD, DABMM

Highly Resistant

Strain of GC

found in Japan

A new “superbug” strain ofNeisseria gonorrhoeaehas been isolated from Japan that is giving cause for concern amongst public health officials. This newly discovered and highly resistant strain, known as H041, is resistant to all of the currently recommended drugs for the treatment of gonorrhea.


This strain has been found to be resistant to all cephalosporin class drugs. Testing is currently being conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of carbapenems as an alternative.

So far, this highly resistant strain has not been detected in the United States. Increasing resistance has been reported in Hong Kong, China, Australia, and other parts of Asia. If history is any guide, it is only a matter of time before it reaches the United States.

Historically, the gonococcus has managed to stay one step ahead of the attempts of eradication. The sequence of drugs that can no longer be used are: sulfonilamides, penicillin, tetracycline, spectinomycin, and ciprofloxacin.

In 2009, 24% of all reported strains were resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, and/or ciprofloxacin. When resistance to Cipro reached 14%, the CDC ceased to recommend its use in 2007. Currently the CDC is recommending combination treatment using a cephalothin, such as ceftriaxone, and either azithromycin or doxycylcine for uncomplicated infections.

The CDC has been conducting a surveillance program to detect ARG (Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea) in 26 cities since 1986, and encourages clinicians to immediately report any new cases of cephalosporin resistance.

Susceptibility testing can be carried out by using agar dilution (the gold standard), disk-diffusion, or Etest methods. All of these methods require culture and isolation. Of concern to the CDC is that the current trend in clinical laboratories is not to culture and instead use the newerNucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), which does not produce susceptibility information. To remedy this situation, the CDC states that “increased laboratory culture capacity is needed.”

Currently, the CDC predicts that there will be about 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea in the United States this year. Less than half of these will be reported. This is second only to chlamydia in reported infectious diseases.

Gonorrhea infections, if left untreated in women, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, increased infectivity of HIV, and infertility.

More information from the CDC.

From the


Hall of Fame. . .

Kitasato 1

Kitasato Shibasaburo

1853 ~ 1931

The co-discoverer of using antitoxins

in the prevention and treatment of disease.

Having completed medical school in Tokyo, Kitasato traveled to Germany to study under Dr. Robert Koch at the University of Berlin in the late 1800’s. Koch (left) is shown in the photo below with Kitasato.

Kitsato 3

In 1889, he was the first person to grow the tetanus bacillus (Clostridium tetani) in pure culture. Then, in 1890 he developed, with Emil von Behring, a serum therapy for tetanus using this pure culture. He also worked on antitoxins for diphtheria and anthrax. It was he and Behring that coined the term “antitoxin.”

Kitasato and Behring demonstrated the value of antitoxin in preventing disease by producing a passive immunity to tetanus in test animals that received graded injections of blood serum from another animal infected with the disease.


After returning to Japan in 1891 he became one of the founders of the Institute for Study of Infectious Diseases. One of his early assistants was August von Wassermann. Kitasato demonstrated how dead cultures can be used in vaccination.

He traveled to Hong Kong in 1894 at the request of the Japanese government during an outbreak of the bubonic plague, and identified a bacterium that he concluded was causing the disease. Alexandre Yersin, working separately found a different organism. Kitasato quickly published his results, but it gradually emerged that Yersin had found the real cause, a bacterium later namedYersinia pestisin his honor.

Four years later, Kitasato and his student Kiyoshi Shiga were able to isolate and describe the organism that caused dysentery (Shigella dysenteriae).

When the Institute for Infectious Diseases was incorporated into Tokyo Imperial University in 1914, he resigned in protest and founded the Kitasato Institute (the forerunner of Kitasato University), which he headed for the rest of his life.


In 1921, Dr. Kitasato founded, together with several medical scientists, the Sekisen Ken-onki Corporation with the intention of manufacturing the most reliable clinical thermometer possible. The company was later renamed Terumo Corporation.

More information about antisera for diagnostic purposes.


See the Survey results…

Standard of Living

Is your standard of living  increasing or decreasing?

If you want to compare yourself on a worldwide scale, the Human Development Index ranked each country in 2010. It is a composite of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living. Here are the top ten countries according to the HDI.

  1. Norway

  2. Australia

  3. New Zealand

  4. United States

  5. Ireland

  6. Liechtenstein

  7. Netherlannds

  8. Canada

  9. Sweden

  10. Germany

Find out

what your fellow MicroBytes

readers had to say.

You will be surprised!

Take the MicroBytes survey…

Do you believe

UFO’s are real?


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Enter your comments…

Always remember. . .

You are unique

Leaning Tower

Just like everyone else.


Rubes July 2011

Find more

of Leigh Rubin’s cartoon humor.

Advice from the Founders…

George Washington 2

“It is far better to be alone,

than to be in bad company.”

“The Constitution is the guide

which I never will abandon.”

“Some day,

following the example of the

United States of America,

there will be a United States of Europe.”

George Washington

First president of the United States

1732 ~ 1799

Seeing is Believing?

July 2011 Opt illusion

Tilting Tables

Actually the tables are perfectly straight.

Still don’t believe it?

Look at your screen from the side.


“Believe half of what you see
and none of what you hear.”

~ Marvin Gaye

Give a man a fish

and he will eat for a day.

Teach him how to fish,

and he will sit in a boat

and drink beer all day.