Hold onto you seats, here we go…!
|Microbiology Nuts & Bolts||
I don’t want to be accused of jumping on the Covid-19 bandwagon but I’m getting asked a lot of questions both from inside and outside of the hospital, so I thought I’d try and answer some of them for you (I think from now on I’m going to tell people I’m a florist rather than a Microbiologist… it’ll be more tranquil). The answers are based on my clinical experience within the hospital setting, evidence I have been able to find as well as National guidance in the UK.
Hold onto you seats, here we go…!
“We have a patient with an odd infection of the face and neck and want to know what antibiotics to start” said the ENT Doctor.
“What do you mean by odd?” asked the Microbiologist vaguely, distracted by all of the requests for coronavirus testing that where sitting in the laboratory.
“Well the patient has bilateral swelling of her face and neck and difficulty swallowing, and it’s a bit odd to be bilateral”.
The Microbiologist perked up and started to pay more attention.
“What does she do? Has she injured herself recently? Does she have pain on opening her mouth? What’s her vaccination history?” he asked.
“Errrr. She’s retired. We haven’t asked about injuries. She can’t open her mouth. She’s 77 years old so we haven’t asked about vaccines” answered the ENT Doctor.
“Okay. Go and ask her the questions. More specifically is she a keen gardener? Has she had any injuries, however minor, which might have been contaminated with soil or manure? When did she last have a tetanus immunisation? I’ll stay on the phone while you ask. This sounds like it might be tetanus”.
There was a pause, then the sound of the phone being put down on the desk, whilst the ENT Doctor went off to get some answers…
The Microbiologist tapped his desk nervously, “see, see not all patients are presenting with Covid-19, and I do wonder how many “ordinary” illnesses are being overlooked amongst the Covid-19 shenanigans…”
The ENT Doctor returned to the phone and asked … “are you still talking to me?”
“Oh umm, no I’m just ranting a little to myself” replied the Microbiologist.
Yes, you may have noticed we’ve got more Covid-19 cases in the UK today than yesterday. But wait… this isn’t surprising; it’s the natural history of a respiratory viral infection. I think it’s probably worth a quick “keep calm and carry on” update…
So we are now in the “slow it down phase”
We (us with our fingers on the don’t panic buttons) always knew we couldn’t contain Covid-19, and that we would enter the “slow down the spread”, whilst trying to prevent the most vulnerable people from acquiring it, phase sooner rather than later. Those that appear most vulnerable to this infection include those of older age (over 80 years), diabetics, those with chronic lung diseases (especially smokers) and the immunosuppressed.
Sack the Microbiologists and just employ computer geeks! Whoa! Hold on!! Where did that come from I hear you say…?
A headline caught my eye last week… well other than the normal coronavirus shenanigans anyway; “A powerful antibiotic that kills some of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria in the world has been discovered using artificial intelligence”.
Ignoring the sensationalised headlines I dug out the research paper, published in Cell last week, and had a look at what was going on, obviously it was a quiet day on the coronavirus front!
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