MRSA is NOT a virus

2 November 2007

The other night, I was in a restaurant with my family, and my kids’ golf coach asked me what I did. I told him I was a Professor of Microbiology. Then he asked me, ‘What is that virus that kills athletes….mersa…?’ He was referring to multiple drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which I reminded him was a bacterium, not a virus.

This incident reinforces the fact that science education is not what it should be in the U.S.

For another version of the MRSA virus, see this blog posting by my former student, Alan Dove.

My son’s seventh grade science textbook does have a chapter on viruses, and it’s not all that bad. But the other day he told me they were having a debate in class on whether or not viruses are alive. He was the only one who said that viruses are not living. Apparently the teacher didn’t take one view or the other. Which to me means that the teacher probably doesn’t know enough about viruses to teach kids about them.