This past week, I participated in a veritable trifecta of infectious diseases discussion in various media. Print, radio, and television, oh my!
1. I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the Baltimore Sun last week about the current Salmonella Saintpaul-tomato outbreak, which was a new experience for me. It was for their weekly Ask The Expert column, which is done in an interview format. In this case, a 30 minute phone conversation was boiled down to a several-paragraph article, with the intent being to have it be “my own words.” While serviceable, the final product had me puzzling at some of the edits, or lack thereof, that were made from our conversation. Lesson learned – next time, I’ll try to be a bit more precise with my diction, or even press for an email interview. Still, it is certainly worth a look.
2. The Ask The Expert show on WHFS this past Sunday was excellent. We spent the first half going over the facts behind Salmonell-icious tomatos, and the fallacies surrounding restaurant and public (over)reaction to the news. The second part of the show touched on tick prevention, and the basics of Lyme disease. Despite the early hour, we ended up with several calls, asking such questions as whether or not the Salmonella Saintpaul strain is somehow worse than other strains (it’s not), whether or not there’s a Lyme disease vaccine on the market (none currently, and an older vaccine was put on the market several years ago and then taken off shortly thereafter due to efficacy concerns and underuse), and whether or not a caller was treated correctly for a Lyme disease-related rash (which I was non-committal about, as the dispensation of person-specific medical advice over the radio in the absence of all the facts is what I call a Bad Idea).
3. My spot on Fox 45 yesterday morning was, as always, fun but brief. We discussed the still-present concerns over human West Nile Virus infections, despite the dwindling number of cases in Maryland recent years – there were only 10 reported in 2007. I also touched on various ways to mosquito-proof your home and property, as well as ideal insect repellent and personal measures to prevent mosquito bites.
I continue to be humbled by having media opportunities like this, and seriously enjoy taking them. Physicians often don’t do the best job of educating their patients or the public on the truth behind important medical matters, and the media often does a poor and inaccurate job of reporting them. As a result, much woo-woo and crazy thinking about medicine has crept into our health culture, which benefits noone. Hmmm… there are ideas brewing. Watch this space for more.