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Department of Bogosity

Remember my referring to the utter bogosity of the conservative antigay crowd trying to label as a "new gay disease" a staph variant, MRSA, that afflicts people in all walks of life, and has for years? Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin goes deep into this nonsense and not only debunks it, but stakes it out on an anthill:

According to the medical literature — which Diep ought to be well acquainted with — the USA300 variant of MRSA is already widespread in the general population. And gay men, who are in the general population, had little to do with it. If the medical literature is any indication, it’s the “general population” that’s responsible for spreading MRSA into the gay community.

Over the past decade, community-associated MRSA (mostly USA300) has been reported in Atlanta, Albany, Birmingham, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Las Cruces (NM), Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, and Sacramento, and as well as in the states of Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. (This list is not complete, by the way). CA-MRSA has infected inmates in jails and prisons and children in day care, as well as American Indians on reservations, rural residents of Southwestern Alaska, and Pacific Islanders of Hawaii.

Internationally, dangerous forms of MRSA have been reported in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands (where one study showed how it can be transmitted in families), New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Western Samoa. Again, this is not a complete list by any means.

All of these outbreaks were among the “general population” and not one was blamed on gay men.

Burroway goes on to show the following:

— The more than 750 articles published to date almost never bring up homosexual activity; it’s simply not a major vector for this disease.

— What is a major vector? Any form of contact sport, including wrestling and football. MRSA is a big problem among athletes, affecting the USC Trojans, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins, as well as college and high school programs across the nation. Yet we’re not seeing any screaming scare headlines about "the flesh-eating jock disease".

— In addition to being prevalent in contact sports, MRSA has been found in daycare centers and prisons, on Indian reservations, on military bases, and even a religious community in upstate New York. But nobody’s calling for shutting down any of these places.

Burroway then mentions the shockingly sensational way in which this latest smear-in-pseudoscientific-garb was presented to the press and the public, and the utterly predictable way in which the right-wing antigay crowd recited verbatim the same old "gay plague" scripts they’ve used since 1981. He closes with this reality check:

MRSA is dangerous if left untreated, and while it is resistant to some forms of antibiotics, it’s not resistant to all forms. In some cases, the wound might have to be lanced and drained. Only very rarely is surgery required.

And the best news is that MRSA is easily preventable. Cover any cuts, scrapes or sores, and wash your hands and shower regularly — ordinary soap and water does the trick. And don’t share personal items — toothbrushes, razor blades, sheets and towels and so forth. Preventing its spread is just that easy.

You mean it’s as simple as not being a stupid slob? That would explain why we’re not seeing most people’s flesh fall from their bones as they go about their daily lives.

It’s time we all took a deep breath, calmed down, and learned a few lessons from all this. MRSA is not new, and gays aren’t spreading a new and deadly disease into the “general population.” It’s already been there for decades. If anything, all the evidence indicates that the “general population” has spread MRSA into the Castro and other places.

One of the big ironies is that one of the ‘tells’ of an Eeeevil Gay Guy is a fondness for things like soap and clean, neat clothing — because as we all know, Real Men look like slobs and smell like landfills. Yet the hatred of gays is based upon their being ‘unclean’. Go figure.

So the first lesson is this: When the media — and especially anti-gay fanatics like Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber — scream about a new gay plague threatening the “general population,” your first instinct should be to get the facts for yourself. AIDS was passed around for 30-50 years as a heterosexual disease in Africa long before five gay men died in Los Angeles in 1981. And MRSA has been a problem in the general population long before Dr. Diep “discovered” it and hyped the latest festering gay man’s curse.

Which brings us to the second lesson: White-coated “professionals” sometimes carry with them all the baggage of prejudice and biases as anyone else. And “professionals” aren’t always pure in their motives when they speak to the press. Some are just as hungry for publicity as anyone else, and some are just as prone to making unconscionable comments. We’ve come to expect contemptible and scurrilous statements from the likes of LaBarbera, Barber and World Net Daily. They have no qualms about exploiting the suffering of others to score cheap political points, and grossly misrepresenting medical science is their stock and trade. We have no idea whether Dr. Diep shares any of their bigotry or whether he just let his ambition or simple carelessness getting the better of him.

And that, my friends, is that.

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