Volume 8 November 1, 2009 Bugs and Drug; Bugs AS Drugs

hub “The ‘no handshake’ policy of the NBA is ridiculous when you think about the amount of bodily contact under the boards.”

-Jerome Klein, MD Professor of Pediatrics, Boston U. Med. Ctr.
Pedi Infectious Diseases Conference, Oct. 24, 2009
commenting on the Oct. 1, 2009 request by the NBA that players NOT shake hands before a game to reduce the spread of flu.

Factor by which microbial cells (bacteria) in your body outnumber your own cells: x 10

  • In other words, only 10% of the total number of cells in your body are human cells.

Number of species of infectious bacteria on physicians’ ties in a 2004 study: at least 1                  Now you know why pediatricians used to wear bow ties. Studies of physicians’ white coats are underway.
Number of bacterial species on the palm of your hand: >150
Per cent higher the bacteria count is on female undergraduate student hands as compared to male undergraduate hands: +50%

  • The authors of this study tread very lightly here and cautiously speculate that it might be related to use of cosmetics and lotions. (1)

Methicilin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) can be found in sand and salt water.

  • “We should not fear the beach. We can shower before we go into the water, and we can shower when we come out of the water. That way we can protect ourselves.” Dr. Plano (2)

Factor by which the number of bacteria found in shower heads exceeds that found in “background counts” of air and water:  x 100     (3)
Per cent of those that were staph bacteria:  2       None were MRSA, and there was no evidence for infection from this water.

Per cent of 156 children who got pertussis (whooping cough) that had refused the vaccine: 11%

  • Herd immunity (the concept that the unvaccinated are protected because the vaccinated don’t get the disease) does NOT work.  (4)

Per cent annual return on investment (ROI) for providing vaccinations of preventable diseases in low income countries:  18    (5)
Number of databases currently tracking vaccine side-effects:  3

Per cent of U.S. physicians who prescribe antibiotics for ear infections: 80%  (6)
Per cent of Polish and German physicians who do: 40%
Per cent of children in the U.K. with mastoiditis who did NOT have a preceding ear infection: 66
Per cent of total world-wide antibiotics attributed to treatment of acute ear infections: 37%

Chance that head lice will hop or jump from person to person or live on your pets: 0
Chance that an adopted child from Russia, China, or Gutemala who tests negative for TB when first tested upon arrival to U.S. will then test positive after 3 months of improved nutrition: 20%

Per cent reduction in runny noses of 326 children in China who were given lactobacillus acidophilus (a probiotic often contained in live culture yogurt) twice a day for over 6 months: 27 – 51    (7)

  • A probiotic is a live microbe that is ingested orally in great numbers, 1000,000,000 per dose several times a day, to enhance your health. Studies to assess their benefits are increasing as people look to probiotics as an alternative to anitbiotcs and other medical drugs.
  • It is a bit of a wonder to me that some parents who oppose vaccinations for their children with inactivated, killed cells  because of the “foreign proteins” readily feed their children millions of live cells of “foreign proteins” (probiotics) to make them healthier.

Reduction of diarrhea duration by those using probiotics: 1 day
Per cent reduction in colds, diarrhea, and colic of infants given synbiotics for the first 6 months of life: 0  (8)

  • A synbiotic is a combination of a probiotic (live microbial organisms) and a prebiotic (indigestible nutrients that enhance normal gastrointestinal bacteria)

Per cent reduction in use of antibiotics by the infants who received the synbiotic :  20%
Number of undesirable side-effects or unexpected changes in growth patterns in infants fed synbiotics: 0

  • Synbiotics may not provide big benefits, but at least they do no harm.


1. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 105:17994-9
2. American Assn. for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting, Chicago, Feb. 12-16 ,2009
3. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 106:16393-9
4. Pediatrics 2009 June 123:1446
5. Bull WHO 2008 Feb 86(2) 140-6
6. Many of the facts to follow were reviewed at the Annual Pediatric Inf Dis Conference, Boston U. MC, Oct 24-25, 2009
7. Pediatrics 2009; 124: e172-e179.Leyer
8. Pediatrics 2008; 122: 8

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: