Campus News

Science journalist Maryn McKenna to discuss ‘superbug’ staph infections

Science journalist and author Maryn McKenna will share some powerful stories from her recent book, Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, in two public programs slated for Aug. 31 and Sept. 2.

Drug-resistant staph infections kill nearly 19,000 Americans per year, put hundreds of thousands in the hospital and cost billions of dollars in health care spending. Commonly known as MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for a pandemic that affects hospitals, families, schools, prisons, children, seniors, livestock and food.

In her Aug. 31 talk, McKenna will provide an overview of MRSA epidemics in agricultural, health care and community settings. She’ll address the disease’s origins,the microbiology that makes it so potent and protean, and the cultural factors-from hospital organization to changes in primary care to intensive confinement farming-that have fueled its spread.”

The lecture takes place at 4 p.m. in Room 175 of the Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. A reception and book signing will follow; copies of Superbug will be available for purchase.

In addition to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where McKenna is spending the week as a professional-in-residence, her talk is sponsored by the Biomedical Health and Sciences Institute, the College of Public Health, the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, the department of microbiology and the Faculty of Infectious Diseases.

Two days later, McKenna shifts gears in a lecture entitled “Thursday Night Blights: Kids, Sports and the Menace of MRSA.” This talk addresses what parents and coaches can do to protect young athletes against these hard-to-treat infections, and it takes place Sept. 2 at 4:15 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke County Library on Baxter Street.

Her book will be available for purchase and signing following the talk, co-sponsored by the ACC Library and the Health and Medical Journalism graduate program in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication.