Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maryn McKenna visits Iowa City (and 1957 Cleveland)

McKenna's latest book
We've written before about Maryn McKenna, who is the author of Superbug, a journalist and a blogger.  After PepsiGate tore through ScienceBlogs, she had to relocate her blog to here and finally here, so I wanted to make sure you all could still find her.  She writes extensively about antibiotic resistance and other infectious diseases at Wired - she knows her science, which is rare among journalists, and she's a wonderful storyteller too.  Check out her latest post on the pre-publication NDM-1 EID papers.

Maryn was on the UI campus today and spoke at a UI College of Public Health conference on MRSA; she gave a wonderful history of resistant Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA. She even mentioned in passing the important conference in Cleveland on November 14, 1957.

Do you know that conference?  This conference was sponsored by 15 organizations including the AMA with ACP, ACS, AHA, ACOG, AAP, VA, CDC, USPHS, FDA and APHA among others. The presentations and discussions at this conference led to the development of a national program for the eradication of S. aureus in hospitals and to the following recommendations for the AMA trustees:

1. That every hospital establish a responsible officer or committee charged with the investigation and control of infections within that hospital and with the institution of procedures and practices designed to prevent such infections.

2. That encouragement and funds be channeled into scientific research concerning the etiology and epidemiology and the immune relationships of pyogenic staphylococci, their relationships to the defensive cells of the body and the mechanism of their mutability to drug and antibiotic resistance.

The AMA trustees approved this within one month and referred it to the Joint Commission, which in the spring of 1958 added #1 above to the requirements for hospitals seeking accreditation. Thus we have these people, groups and S. aureus to thank for infection control programs as we know them today. I wonder if we need a similar conference now on MDR-Gram negatives?

Question: Why was the conference in Cleveland?

Perhaps because Charles Henry Rammelkamp, Jr., M.D was there. He was well known for his work demonstrating the impact of a sulfonamide derivatives on staphylococci and reporting the first penicillin-resistant strain of staphylococcus. He also contributed to the understanding of the epidemiology of staphylococci in nurseries and the role of coagulase in the evolution of staphylococcal disease.  Not sure if that's why, but seems like a good enough reason to me.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this! Thank you so much - the visit to Iowa was great!