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a culture of service…

November, 2011

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Time for some
“Cranial Aerobics”…

Enter here to take the test

Micro Tips…

Normally you inoculate aCaseinorXanthineplate on the surface and wait for growth and the clearing of the agar beneath the colony.

Casein plate

However, if you take a plug of agar out of the plate and inoculate the wall of the “well” you can see the clearing much sooner.


  1. Faster results. Not having to wait for the clearing to spread beyond the colony’s edge.
  2. If you make your own plates and the crystals of the Xanthine drift to the bottom of the plate, you don’t have to wait as long for the clearing substance to diffuse and clear the media.

Submitted by:

David Perez

Senior Public Health Microbiologist Monterey, California

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Once in a

Blue Moon

Blue moon

In Shakespeare’s time this would mean something rare or absurd.

Lately, a “Blue Moon” has come to mean the rare occurance of a month that has two full moons.

This derives from the fact that lunar and calendar months aren’t quite the same and that some years have 13 full moons. A lunar cycle has 29.5 days. In a typical 12-moon year, the moons all have names, like the familiar ‘Harvest Moon’, ‘Hunter’s Moon’ etc.

The Blue Moon (two full moons in a month) is not all that rare. It happens every 2.5 years on average.

Our next Blue Moon will occur on August 31, 2012.

The phrase “Blue Moon” can first be found in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac in the 1940s.

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belly button

Microbiologists have recently found 662 unclassified bacteria strains from human navel swabs.

The Belly Button Biodiversity Project, done by scientists at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, has been analyzing navel swabs from a host of volunteers.

So far, they’ve found 1,400 distinct bacterial strains, nearly half of which have never been seen before.

Although the total number of strains recorded was large, the results so far indicate that a small group of about 40 species accounts for around 80 per cent of the bacterial populations of our belly buttons.

The project was conceived as a light-hearted effort to interest the public in microbiology, and to counter the common view that bacteria are nothing but causes of disease. Bacteria and humans have a complicated relationship. Many strains play an important role in defending the body against infection by pathogenic organisms.

The human body is host to trillions of bacterial cells. In fact they number ten times as many cells as our own tissue cells.

The belly button according to the project leader is an ideal sampling point because it doesn’t get as scrubbed and sprayed with chemicals as much other, more accessible parts.

The team has limited themselves to DNA from bacteria, which means the fungi, viruses and other creatures lurking in our belly button are another matter altogether.

Think about it…

The Thinker

  • If work is so terrific, how come they have to pay you to do it?
  • Where do all the missing socks go?
  • How DO they get the ship in the bottle?
  • All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
  • I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
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Wisdom to ponder…

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld

from Brooklyn, New York

“Men don’t care what’s on TV. They only care what else is on TV.”

“People who read the tabloids deserve to be lied to.”

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”

“A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”

“I am so busy doing nothing… that the idea of doing anything – which as you know, always leads to something – cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.”

“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”

“Make no mistake about why these babies are here – they are here to replace us.”

“Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.”

“There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.”

“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.”

“You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, ‘See if you can blow this out.’

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Did you know?
East Wing

Hardy Diagnostics…
  • 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.
  • IsISO 13485certified for the manufacture of medical devices to give you confidence in our products.
  • Offers you its technical manual,HUGO, which contains over 4,500 pages of information regarding microbiology.
  • Maintains a worldwide network of over 30distributors.

Send amessage to the president.

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Micro Musings..

Catoon Nov 2011

DiPersio - small

Case Study #5
from Dr. Joe DiPersio

Can You Identify

This Pathogen?

A39 year old, HIV positive male presented to the ER with pulmonary complaints. Radiology of the chest showed an enlarged right upper lobe mass (5-6 cm) with no cavitations.

A bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), bronchial washing (BW), and biopsy were performed one week later and sent for cultures, cytology, and pathology.

Cytology showed no malignant cells and pathology showed chronic inflammation with no granulomas, dysplasia, or malignancy.

The BAL grew 3,000 CFU/ml of a gram-positive organism which was first reported as a rod but changed to a coccus after repeating the gGram stain the next day.

Rhodococcus equi

On day three, the Director of Microbiology was consulted. Examination of the slightly pink colonies on the SBA plate suggested a possible pathogen which was later confirmed by additional testing.

Rhodo plate

What is your presumptive diagnosis based on clinical history and preliminary morphologic characteristics?

What is the organism?

Hospital Acquired Infections

hand washing

Nosocomial or Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) is a growing concern within the healthcare industry.Did you know…

  • HAI causes 1.7 million infections every year.
  • HAI is responsible for 99,000 deaths every year.
  • HAI costs, for the most part, are no longer reimbursable by Medicare/Medicaid.
  • HAI will add, on the average, $8,832 to the affected patient’s hospital stay.
  • HAI will add from $28 to 33 billion in costs to the healthcare system this year.
  • Clostridium difficileinfection will strike over 3 million Americans this year. From 1 to 2.5% of them will die.
  • More Americans will die from invasive MRSA this year than fromH. influenzae, group A strep, meningococcal, and pneumococcal disease combined.
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ref: Labmedicine, 42:5. May 2011

Why Walking is so good for you…


“Starting at the age of 20, we lose about 1 percent of our aerobic fitness each year. A walking program can improve that fitness from 10 to 20 percent in three months. That’s the same as 10 to 20 years of rejuvenation.”~Dr. Barry Franklin(Head of Cardiac Program at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan)

“You must take at least two hours a day to exercise; for health must not be sacrificed to learning….Walking is very important. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk, but divert yourself by the objects surrounding you.”~Thomas Jefferson

“Do not lose your desire to walk; every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”~Søren Kierkegaard.

“In my room, the world is beyond my understanding. But when I walk, I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.”~Wallace Stevens

“Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord.~Rebecca Solnit

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy, but otherwise healthy, adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”~Paul Dudley White, MD(Cardiologist)

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The Debt Watch

This year the Federal Government will spend $1.62 Trillion more that it take in. That means that it must borrow 43% of every dollar that it spends.This brings the total US debt to over $15 Trillion. Can this be sustainable?

Fenderal Easing

The best way to destroy the capitalist system

is to debauch the currency.

By a continuing process of inflation,

governments can confiscate,

secretly and unobserved, an important part

of the wealthof their citizens.”


John Maynard Keynes

British Economist

1883 ~ 1946

The MicroBytes Survey

Do you agree that incandescent bulbs
should be outlawed?

Light bulbs

Four years ago, the federal government enacted theEnergy Independence and Security Act of 2007. As a result, starting in January of 2012, inefficient incandescent light bulbs will be phased out, by making their manufacture and importation illegal.

One problem is that the now favored Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) contain toxic mercury vapor that is released if the bulb is broken. Some states, cities and counties have outlawed putting CFL bulbs in the trash. Now what?

The survey results are here…

Mail delivery 2

Should the Post Office

Eliminate Saturday Delivery?

The Post Office carries $15 billion in debt. The mail volume in the U.S. has dropped by 30% from 2006 to 2010. Alarmingly, the post office lost more than $8 billion last year and is facing losses at least that large this year, despite having cut 110,000 jobs over the last four years and making other changes, including closing smaller, local post offices. Also, the post office wants to reduce mail delivery to five days-a-week, close an additional 3,700 offices and further cut the workforce by up to 220,000. The U.S. Postal Service is a self-funded government agency and receives no funding through taxes.


Rubes Nov 2011

Find more

of Leigh Rubin’s cartoon humor.

Advice from the Founders…

William Penn

“Right is right,

even if everyone is against it,
and wrong is wrong,
even if everyone is for it.”

“Those who will not be ruled by God

will be ruled by Tyrants.”

“Time is what we want most,

but what we use worst.”

William Penn

Founder of Pennsylvania and champion of democracy, religious freedom, and separation of church and state.

1644 ~ 1718

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Seeing is Bel

Opt Ill Nov 2011

Different or all the same size?


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

~ Marvin Gaye


“He who votes does not have power.
He who counts the votes has power.”

Joseph Stalin

The first General Secretary of
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
from 1922 to 1953.
Imprisoned, starved, or killed over 20 million people.

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