Dr. A's person of the year

In case you haven't heard yet, Time Magazine's Person of the Year is YOU. That's right, YOU. I know, you're asking yourself, Huh? In my opinion, Time has reached a new low here. In an effort to offend no one, they took the easy way out and named everybody, er, YOU. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Time has assured itself that this annual distinction is now irrelevant. It's like me naming a person of the year. So, why not! If Time Magazine can make itself look important, then I'll do the same.

My person of the year is not actually a person. In addition, there is not even an agreed upon name of this "person." Now, before you think I'm going to do a spirituality post (not that there's anything wrong with that), here are the many names that have been used for my "person": Bug, Bacteria, Virus, Germ, Infection....

Well, you get the idea. In 2006, the population of the world has gotten to know more about microscopic organisms than ever before. For example, ripped from recent headlines....

E.Coli: Forget about bagged spinach from California. That story is so three months ago. Now, the big thing is the infection raging through Taco Bell restaurants. Oops! I forgot, the CDC has now announced that Taco Bell is now safe to return to. I know that because in watching TV on Sunday, at least twice an hour, the president of Taco Bell had an announcement asking people to come back. I wonder how much that cost. Probably pennies compared to the revenue lost over the past few weeks. Anyone remember Chi-Chi mexican restaurant? They had an outbreak in 2003, not with E.coli, but Hepatits A. Chi-Chi's went out of business soon after that.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa: This is a bacteria usually found in water and soil. It may not sound familiar, but if I say this bacteria closed the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at a Los Angeles hospital two weeks ago, then it may ring a bell. Five babies were infected and two babies died from this bug.

MRSA: The long name is "methicillin resistant staph aureus." This is a big and bad sounding name, and this bacteria usually is. This is a bug whose victims are usually elderly patients with extended hospitalizations. In this story from the UK, hospitals there are finding a more powerful strain of MRSA, meaning it is more difficult to treat. As bacteria get exposed to more and more powerful antibiotics, the bacteria adapt and become more and more powerful. A dangerous trend.

This virus first made it's mark on the scene on cruise ships. Remember hearing about cruise ship illnesses? This was norovirus at work. Now, it had made landfall - namely at Olive Garden restaurant in the Indianapolis, Indiana area. Almost 400 people in that community have been affected. One wonders how much that's going to hurt that business not only locally, but nationally as well.

Finally, I've already had my flu shot rant this year. I'm also upset about the media hype over flu shot surpluses. But, that's a rant for another day. What will 2007 bring? Well, in addition to all of the above, bird flu is still on the radar screen. What new bugs are on the horizon? We'll have to see. Congrats to Dr. A's person of the year! Don't forget to wash your hands....