Wednesday, February 11, 2009

swabbing for staph

11.12.08. Although often in the news in the context of infection, the staphylococcus bacterium lives in roughly 20 percent of human beings in a harmless form, most prevalently in the mucus. Ten students in each class swabbed the insides of their noses to see if they were part of the lucky 20 percent. Cassie Fairchild at the Columbia Medical Center analyzed the samples by adding them to a particular salt that, when fermented by staph, turns from red to yellow. Results were delivered to students in the form of a sum of positive and negtive integers--if the sum was negative, the student was negative for staph, and vice versa!