Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Infected Prose (Eww!)

While reading a New York Times story about drug-resistant staph infections, we encountered two spelling errors:

What does CA-MRSA look like?
CA-MRSA is primarily a skin infection. It often resembles a pimple, boil or spider bite, but it quickly worsens into an abscess or puss-filled blister or sore. Patients who have sores that won’t heal or are filled with pus should see a doctor and ask to be tested for staph infection. They should not squeeze the sore or try to drain it — that can spread the infection to other parts of the skin or deeper into the body.

The word the author wanted was pus. Puss means cat. We would be worried about pus-filled wounds, and horrified with ones large enough to accommodate kitties.

What can I do to lower my risk of contracting MRSA?
Bathing regularly and washing hands before meals is just a start. Wash your hands often or use an antibacterial sanitizer after you’ve been in public places or have touched handrails and other highly trafficked surfaces. Make sure cuts and scrapes are bandaged until they heal. Wash towels and sheets regularly, preferably in hot water, and leave clothes in the dryer until they are completely dry. “Staph is a pretty hearty organism,’’ said Dr. Gerba.

It's hardy, not hearty. Hearty means sincere, lively, and enthusiastic. Only a staph infection's mother would use that word to describe it. Hardy, on the other hand, means robust.

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