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Behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes

In addition to the scientific studies presented at numerous symposia, lectures and poster sessions at the ICAAC meeting there was also some real-time research going on -- an attempt to determine the prevalence of diarrhea-causing microorganisms in local shellfish.

Philip Lowry of Louisiana's Department of Health and Human Resources took the opportunity of having thousands of microbiologists in New Orleans, presumably taking advantage of the local cuisine, to conduct a survey. Several hundred conference attendees agreed to cooperate.

Participants deposited carefully wrapped stool specimens (some did this quite furtively) in specially marked garbage cans throughout the meeting locale, and agreed to mail in a second specimen a few days after leaving New Orleans along with a questionnaire describing what they had eaten, whether they were on medications and whether they had had diarrhea during or after their stay. Participants who report having diarrhea will be asked to send in a blood sample so that it can be checked for signs of infection.

According to Lowry, the majority of locally caught oysters contain the cholera bacteria or other diarrhea-causing organisms, though most people who eat them don't get ill. There has been an outbreak of 12 cases of cholera in Louisiana since August, he says. The study is intended to determine the prevalence of infection, whether certain organisms are more likely to cause disease than others and what host factors allow the infectious organism to cause problems. Lowry hopes to present the results at next year's microbiology meeting.
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Title Annotation:microbiology research conducted during Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Author:Silberner, Joanne
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 18, 1986
Words:249
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