Chapter 34 : Microbes in the Media

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The coronavirus responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) may yet have more lessons in store for us. Thus, it would be foolish to dismiss as totally baseless the apocalyptic headlines that swept the world for several months after the disease first appeared in China in 2002-2003. A researcher, from Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry, Northern Ireland, highlighted in particular severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Health authorities today might learn from the Aberdeen experience not from its more comical features, perhaps, but from the needless use of measures that were based on an erroneous understanding of the communicability of the disease. Still, some good did come out of Aberdeen: new knowledge about serovar Typhi plus insight into another epidemic that occurred many years previously. The bacilli would also betray their presence by "blowing" the cans and/or discoloring the meat. Researchers of what was then called the Enteric Reference Laboratory in London, found that the Aberdeen strain of serovar Typhi grew more prolifically than in corned beef. It could be isolated from both ends of the meat after 3 years of storage and was still widely distributed even after 8 years. Moreover, cans infected with serovar Typhi, together with and , were not blown, and the meat was not visibly spoiled. The typhoid bacillus thrived better than the other two organisms.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. Microbes in the Media, p 156-160. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch34
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1. Anderson, E. S.,, and B. C. Hobbs. 1973. Studies of the strain of Salmonella typhi responsible for the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak. Isr. J. Med. Sci. 9: 162 174.
2. Kelly, M. G.,, R. A. Sharkey,, K. W. Moles,, and J. G. Daly. 2004. Severe communityacquired pneumococcal pneumonia (CAP)—a potentially fatal illness. J. Med. Microbiol. 53: 83 84.
3. Porter, I.,, and M. Williams. 2001. Epidemic Diseases in Aberdeen and the History of the City Hospital. Aberdeen History of Medicine Publications, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

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