The War on Germs: Are We Winning? Should we be?

Homicide: bad word. It means killing another human being. Germicide? For many, good word. It promises to kill what are hated and feared most in this super-sanitary era: germs. Germ is sort of a catchall that refers to any microorganism we can't actually see. That's sort of like referring to every non-human living thing as an animal: elephants, mosquitoes, salmon, vultures. Fact is, there are only a few bad actors in the world of microorganisms, and we pretty much know who they are. Take streptococcus mutans. It's a bacteria linked with tooth decay. But wait! That's only one strain of bacteria that live in the mouth, many of which are helpful. Saliva alone contains roughly a trillion bacteria. Humans couldn't [...]