Rice and Beans for Two

Monday, April 30, 2007

Eileen Interviews Mrs. V.

Eileen's Interview Questions to Me:

1. What are the best and worst parts of working at the CDC? Hey, this sounds like two questions. OK, for your insider's view of what it is like to work at such a prestigious place, what I like best is being able to tell everyone I meet that I work at the CDC. Then, after they finish their ooohs and aaaahs, I love telling them I do molecular biology research on the measles virus RNA. That's usually about as far as I can go, no one can stay focused enough to let me explain how PCR works, I know, because I've tried. That even boggles my mind, not a mundane job, for sure. Being on the cutting edge is definitely the cool part of my job.

I've worked on Patient Zero's viral RNA, the first known case of HIV back in the 80's.

The most exciting case was the Florida dentist (Dr. Acer) who we suspect intentionally infected (I could explain it to you but it involves molecular biology and your eyes might glaze over.... ysvilla@comcast.net if you really want the explanation) some of his patients with the HIV from his blood so that the medical research community would look at the virus as a serious threat to everyone, not just gay men. From this case alone the establishment of Universal Precautions was introduced into the medical community. Before this milestone doctors/surgeons would go home drenched in blood from surgery, proud to be able to wear this badge of honor of their profession.

In another interesting case a child living in the States had just received his MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) vaccine and fell ill, the parents suspected the vaccine gave him measles. The measles viral RNA I extracted and sequenced from this patient showed it to be a wild-type genotype located in China and not the vaccine genotype. The epidemiologists went back to the parents and asked them if they had done any traveling recently. Yes, they had just come back from a visit to China and their child got what was diagnosed as Roseola Fever while there. It must not have been Roseola Fever, after all, but wild type measles virus that caused the rash. ta-da, case solved and our nations measles vaccine supply is once again declared safe....cool stuff.

Another interesting story where folk lore is substantiated by science comes from an outbreak of the Nipah virus in Bangladesh. Young boys were coming down with this little known virus which CDC identified. The folk lore in that region where it is the custom to eat fruit bats (those large bats that have faces that look like foxes and their wing span can reach 6 feet) is not to eat the bats during their mating season or your young boys will come down with fever and die. What was actually happening was this Nipah virus is associated with the reproductive organs of the bats and they shed this virus in the urine and other body fluids during the mating season. What the young boys were doing is climbing trees to eat the same fruits the bats would eat, even eating partially eaten fruits the bats would drop from the trees. The boys were being exposed to the virus in the fruits and on the barks of the trees, making them ill. Superstition and science tell the same story.

The worst part of working at CDC (since this is the Federal Government) is that it is almost impossible to get rid of incompetent people, they just get moved around and/or promoted.

2. If you had to move to another state, where would you go? If I had my choice to move to any State I would choose Hawaii because it is tropical like Puerto Rico. This would only be temporary because I wouldn't want to move so far away I would not be able to see my grandkids every other week-end.

3. What is your favorite movie? I loved Christopher Reeves in Somewhere in Time (www.somewhereintime.tv), that was so real to me I'm waiting for it to happen to me. My next favorite movie would be Monster's Inc., especially the scene where Sully repeatedly passes out cold when he thinks Boo has been crushed in the compactor, it's making me laugh right now just thinking about it.

4. If you could pick anyone to be President of the United States, whom would you choose? I think Condoleezza Rice has what it takes to be President, she is confident, intelligent, knowledgeable and calm; she always impresses me.

5. What is something you've always wanted to do, but haven't yet? I would love to write a GREAT children's book, Maria would be the illustrator. I would like to write a story that would become a classic and my great, great, great grandchildren could find it for sale in book stores. Maria has already given me a "How to Write Children's Books" book but I have yet to start.....sigh.

Ok, that's it, want to play along?

Rules of the game:

1. Send an email saying, “Interview me”, or words to that effect.

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions of my choosing.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You have to include this explanation, and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions...


At 1:47 AM, Blogger eileen said...

Wow, great answers! Love all the CDC stories. And I think the children's book is a great idea.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Maria said...

Very interesting. Monsters Inc is a good one.

You can interview me.

At 3:24 AM, Blogger lillasysteryster said...

Interesting answers I must say! Like Eileen I liked the stories from CDC!

At 9:11 AM, Blogger titi said...

Way to go "sister-in-law" sis! Very well said. I also like the Monsters Inc....


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