Science & Technology

Superbug comes to UGA, Athens-Clarke Library

Athens, Ga. – 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 on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 in Athens.

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 a talk at the University of Georgia on Tuesday, Aug. 31, McKenna will provide an overview of MRSA epidemics in agricultural, healthcare and community settings. She’ll address the disease’s origins,the microbiology that makes it so potent and protean, andthe 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 UGA’s 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, McKenna’s talk is sponsored by the Biomedical Health and Science 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 called “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 on Thursday, Sept. 2, at 4:15 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke County Library on Baxter Street.

Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing following the talk, which is co-sponsored by the ACC Library and the Health and Medical Journalism graduate program in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Both programs are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Diane Murray at, 706/542-5038

Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to WNEG-TV, the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see