Larry Farrell farrlarr at isu.edu
Tue Nov 13 11:39:20 EST 2001

JEDilworth wrote:

> I remember some of my pathogenic micro pretty vividly.  The year was the
> spring of 1970.  The campuses were reeling with protest (have to set the
> background).  I was attending a rather large midwest state university.
> I was a junior that year.
> My prof used a LOT of visual aids, e.g. movies (pre-video era).  I don't
> know where he obtained them, but their images stick with me to this day,
> probably because I work in microbiology, and have done so most of the
> last 27 years.
> He had public health movies that included the following diseases (and
> probably more that I've forgotten):  tetanus, whooping cough (the poor
> baby trying to breathe while coughing finally made me understand my
> mother's commentary on having the disease), cholera (the site of people
> so dehydrated from losing gallons of fluid still sticks with me to this
> day).  The most awful one, though, was from the place in Maryland where
> they were performing the germ warfare of the time with.....anthrax! They
> had a poor rhesus monkey hooked up and made him inhale spores, then
> tracked how the spores circulated in his body until they produced toxins
> and death.  It was terrible to watch, but actually quite timely now,
> considering what's been going on.

I can remember the film about anaphylactic shock in dogs and guinea pigs.
Can you imagine the outcry if such visual aids were used today??!!  I would
bet that half way through the first one, there would be a lawyer banging on
the door, claiming that seeing such images was traumatizing his poor
sheltered client and that the instructor should be barred from ever teaching
again.  In my sincere opinion, one of the reasons we see some of the more
horrendous things happening today is that we have lost touch with the
reality of life/death.  All we ever see are the sanitized, and obviously
faked, images of movies and television so people have come to dissociate
injury and suffering from their own actions.


> My college professor kept Strep. pneumoniae alive by inoculating mice in
> their peritoneal cavity, letting it grow till it killed them, then
> freezing the mice!  Yuck!  It grows fine on blood agar, although you
> must subculture it every couple of days and keep it in CO2. I still
> can't believe he did that!

Sounds like George Cozad at the University of Oklahoma, my old alma mater,
but he probably retired before you would have been in school, and I don't
know where you went to school anyway.  Needless to say, that practice of
maintaining pneumo. wasn't necessarily an idiosyncrasy of only a limited
Microbiology professors because it worked so very well.  Really easy to
recover hot pneumo. by simply injecting some sterile saline into the
peritoneal cavity once the mouse had thawed, without the hassle of
constantly transferring on artificial medium and running the risk of loss of
the capsule.

Larry D. Farrell, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
Idaho State University

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