As a chronic student I took every epidemiology course I could find between 1978 and 1984 at U. Pittsburgh. The Public Health School and the Medical School exchanged students and teachers freely and students jumped schools like viruses jump species.

In the curious world of Public Health Politics, here’s some good bar trivia: the first Dean of Pitt’s Pubic Health School has his name removed from the main building, when it was discovered that he experimented on the Tuskegee Airmen. The Mailman School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins is now the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Mr. Bloomberg, a Hopkins graduate, has contributed about 1.5 BILLION DOLLARS to the University.

Cross Species Transmission (CST) is responsible for HIV, SARS, ebola, swine flu, avian flu and rabies.

My innate skepticism and going to 26th grade qualify me to add, “and those are only the CST’s we know so far…”

The illness profile is actually a relief for scientists, although no one is lame enough to say it out loud: children aren’t ill in large numbers and frail elders are the sickest, which is typical of all viral morbidity and mortality (see “pneumonia is the old man’s friend” and thinning the herd/Darwin’s survival of the fittest).

I do get credit for saying a few weeks ago, “It’s not coming, it’s here; we just aren’t testing for it yet.”

The complacency and arrogance of American medicine not to make wholesale, simple, voluntary tests available for a buck or 3 as soon as a test was reliable and valid is disheartening.

The CDC, in a story that escaped most public scrutiny, over-reached in developing a “super test” which was not reliable or valid and set the surveillance back six weeks.

Public Health is a timely career for young people. We know now that if you grow lettuce and strawberries and keep pigs and ducks, you will also grow E-coli and export it to Mexican restaurants and Dairy Queens and maybe have a CST named after you, hopefully not posthumously.

We have mad cow disease and we seem surprised when the Asian and African cultures that include meat-eating of all sorts of god’s creatures is the trampoline for a CST.

Scrub a dub, bub.