Earlier this year we all went into lockdown… remember? Not like the current lockdown where most people seem to be carrying on regardless, I mean when the streets were eerily quiet, and our capital cities looked like a set from a post-apocalyptic movie.
During this time, I remember seeing news stories about the positive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the environment as everyone moved indoors, cars stayed off the roads and heavy industry shut down. There were striking pictures of Nitric Oxide levels over China showing a massive reduction in the production of greenhouse gases. It seemed that something good may come out of the pandemic, almost as if the Earth was pressing the reset button and taking back control.
We’re all waiting for a vaccine against SARS Cov2, right? Once we have a vaccine, we can all get back to normal and 2020 will be a period of time that we look back on as a bad time in our lives. Well this is what I hear a lot of people saying… SPOILER ALERT! I think we need a reality check; the new normal is NOT going to look like the old normal.
More and more of us are being affected by imposed quarantine measures (sometimes at very short notice!). Holiday plans are all over the place (we are not going to the Drakensberg’s, our flight is cancelled, UK residents are banned and there is 14 days of quarantine even if we could get in! Boom, our holiday’s gone BUST!). There is mass quarantining on a global scale. But added to this is the fact that in the UK you must also quarantine yourself if you are exposed to a person with Covid-19. No ifs, no buts, do not pass “Go”, do not “collect £200”. But where does the term quarantine come from, what does it mean and are we “actually” using it correctly?
Everyone I see around the hospital asks me how the Microbiology department and the Microbiologists are coping. They are concerned that WE are flooded with work… and yes we are busy… BUT we are not frontline staff dealing with acutely sick patients or GPs in primary care struggling to deal with Covid-19 whilst juggling all of their other patients!
I am especially in awe of how my primary care colleagues are dealing with Covid-19.
Primary care must be unbelievably hard right now. Not only are GPs still having to manage their normal case loads of chronic illnesses but they are also the first line of contact for many people who have been infected with SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS Cov2). AND they are doing this remotely using telephone and videoconferencing!!! The Editor Chief in Charge (aka my wife) will tell you just how useless I would be at that… I don’t even own a smartphone; in fact I can barely use the TV remote control!
“We have a lady with puerperal fever. She’s 2 days post-delivery and pretty unwell. Critical Care are reviewing her now and we’d like some advice about the best antibiotics to give her” said the Obstetrics Registrar.
Excellent thought the Microbiologist; they’re being proactive about a serious problem.
“If she’s not allergic to anything then IV Benzylpeniciilin and Clindamycin. Have you looked for retained products and done a DNC?” asked the Microbiologist.
“She’s really unwell, we don’t really want to take her to theatre. We might damage the uterus” replied the Registrar.
“She’s unlikely to improve if you don’t,” said the Microbiologist sympathetically. “You need to remove as much infected material as you can. I know it sounds brutal but it’s really important”.
“Okay,” said the Registrar sounding doubtful, “my Consultant is with the patient at the moment so I’ll go and tell them what you have advised. Thanks for your help.”
The Microbiologist put down the phone and put down his pen. Time to visit the obstetric ward and see what is going on…
Happy Valentine's Day! The Love Virus is in the air...
“Chinese media are showing hardworking hero stories, it's Jeong Jae Pung’s wedding anniversary … ‘come home soon’ his sign says [according to the BBC reporter] … his wife is a nurse looking after virus patients and contact with the outside world is forbidden…” (BBC News at 10, 13/02/2020)
So what’s wrong with this picture?
The nurse is on a mobile phone wearing her PPE outside of the hospital, according to the UK’s guidelines it should be removed inside the patient’s room and why is she using her mobile phone?!
This breaches Infection Control policy in so many ways; leading to contamination of the hospital and the wider environment and also exposes this person and their family to the virus. She might as well not bother wearing the PPE at all.
This picture is so crazy it deserves a caption competition, no prizes, just the kudos for being the wittiest reader of the bug blog!
Add your caption below or on Facebook :-)
It’s all over the news; a new deadly plague is spreading across the World in an unstoppable wave of death and disease! Cities are falling, governments are collapsing, mass panic and chaos are ensuing… or at least that’s what the media would have us believe about the novel coronavirus from Wuhan in China. Gosh, it’s reminding me of the game of Pandemic!
The Microbiologists were out having their Christmas curry together when the oncall phone twitched into action. Looking around the table, under pulled crackers and wrapping paper, the oncall Microbiologist (the only one not drinking!) took the call while the others ordered some more drinks and food… It was a noisy gathering as Microbiologists don’t get out much…
The waiter looked expectantly to take more drinks orders….
“I’m sure she said a mango lassie, I’ll get her one …yes… one mango lassie please and five cobra beers and another taka dahl, thanks”. The waiter scuttled off.
“I ordered you the mango lassie” said the (tipsy off duty) Microbiologist
“Why did you get me a lassie?” asked the oncall Microbiologist.
“You said mango lassie while on the phone… when we were ordering more drinks… didn’t you!?!”
“No… that was the Med Reg from the Royal Free, saying they thought one of contacts of the Dutch Lassa fever cases might be transferred to us for follow up and thought we’d like to be aware, as it was in the news and may cause us a call or two if the local media get to know!”… continuing… [and huffing] “Really… its 10:30 on Friday night, I do not need to know this oncall, but everyone wants their minute of fluster and fame!!” … “Mango lassie…?! You lot need a hearing test or less Cobra beer!” said the oncall Microbiologist.
“5 Cobras and a mango lassie…” said the waiter with impeccable timing!
The Microbiologists crumpled in laughter and thanked the waiter who just looked puzzled and said he’d bring over the dahl.
Warning: this blog mite make you itch!
The Oncology Registrar sat in the Multidisciplinary Team meeting looking thoroughly miserable. They looked like they hadn’t slept for ages, and whilst this can often be the case for junior doctors, the Microbiologist knew the registrar had only just returned from annual leave.
Whilst trying to pay attention to the patient discussions the Microbiologist watched as the poor Registrar kept scratching at his hands and arms.
As the meeting drew to a close, the Microbiologist wandered over…they can’t help but meddle!!!
“You look like your suffering” he said sympathetically, when in fact he was “itching” to make a shrewd diagnosis!!!
“Yeah. My hands and arms are really itchy, and it was worse in that room as it was so hot. I think I’m allergic to something”.
The Microbiologist wasn’t so sure.
“Show me your hands” he said.
The Registrar helpfully held out his hands which looked red and inflamed.
Looking closely whilst not touching (oooh, all those germs!!! He’d seen the Infection Control hand plates in the past!!!) the Microbiologist soon realised the likely cause of the problem.
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