March 20, 1987

The Very, Very, Very Lone Ranger Stands by Germ Theory

Author Affiliations

University of California San Francisco

University of California San Francisco

JAMA. 1987;257(11):1474. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390110050022

To the Editor.—  The article entitled "The Use of Eye-Nose Goggles to Control Nosocomial Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection" in the Nov 21, 1986, issue of JAMA1 reminded me of an episode during my internship not many years ago. It was midwinter and many people had coughs and colds, as did I.I strapped a disposable surgical mask around my neck and covered my face with it when meeting with patients or talking with colleagues during rounds. I explained to patients that I did not want to complicate their hospitalization with a cold; they were uniformly grateful, even those with little understanding of germ theory. Only the medical staff seemed to have any difficulty with this quietly unusual behavior.I suppose that made us even, for I considered it equally odd that they only shielded their grossly immunocompromised patients and none of their colleagues from the fomites of their respiratory