Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by discussing one of my favourite bacterias, staphylococcus.
In the second episode of The Simpsons, Bart the Genius (Season 01, Episode 02), Bart goes to the Enriched Learning Center and meets his classmates. He shares the following conversation with his classmate Cecile Shapiro:
Cecile: “Hi Bart.”
Bart: “Cool hamsters. What are their names?”
Cecile: “Hamster number one has been infected with a Staphylococci virus. Hamster number two is the control hamster.”
Bart: “Hi little control hamster.”
Cecile: “I wouldn’t get too attached. We’re dissecting him next week.”
Ironic in an episode called Bart the Genius, the geniuses make the mistake of referring to Staphylococcus as a virus, when in fact it’s a bacteria (on purpose of course).
Staphylococcus is a Gram positive bacteria genus that typically appears in a cluster of grapes pattern. There are over 40 species of Staphylococcus. It was discovered and named by Scottish surgeon and bacteriologist Sir Alexander Ogston (19 April 1844 – 1 February 1929).
Sir Alexander Ogston
Most species are harmless and commonly found on human skin and mucosal surfaces. However, they can enter the body and blood stream through cuts and abrasions and can potentially lead to infection. A few examples of infections associated with Staphylococcus include:
- Septic arthritis
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome
Most of these infections were treated with drugs in the penicillin class of antibiotics. However, a variety of factors (including inappropriate use of antibiotics and improper hand washing to name a couple) has led to bacteria that are resistant to many drugs in the penicillin class of antibiotics. The most common type of these bacteria are referred to as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA for short.
Now that we’ve taken a look at Staphylococcus, be sure to say ”hi” to the little guys on your skin.
What’s your favourite Simpsons microbiology reference? Do you have a favourite bacteria? Have you ever dissected a hamster? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.