Friday, December 19, 2008

How to import Scarlett Johansson's pathogens

Yes she is famous. Yes she is a gorgeous actress. Yes she is human....SHE IS! What does that mean? That means that like any other human being, she has a bacterial flora. Nope...Scarlett's skin and mucosal secretions are NOT free of pathogens. You need a list of some of pathogenic bacteria that inhabit the upper respiratory tract? Here it is:

Because she admitted that she is recovering from a cold, apparently acquired through interacting with "The Spirit" fellow actor Samuel Jackson, her mucus-filled tissue now auctionned on eBay could contain potential pathogens. Because I am curious, I wanted to know if it was possible at all to buy Johansson's tissue and have it shipped (Free of charge according to the website) here in Canada. I made a few phone calls here and there (mostly to Health Canada) without a real answer...I was constantly referred to the Communications Officer. Then someone sent me a link that offers a few answers - Human Pathogens Import Regulations.

According to this document NO RISK GROUP 2, 3 or 4 pathogens can be imported. Just for your information, a risk group 2 pathogen is:
"A pathogen that can cause human or animal disease but is unlikely to be a serious hazard, and, while capable of causing serious infection on exposure, for which
there are effective treatments and preventive measures available and the risk of spread of infection is limited."
Every Streptococcus and Staphylococcus belongs to this group.

According to the Human Pathogens Import Regulations document:

No person shall import a human pathogen that belongs to Risk Group 2, 3 or 4 unless

It looks like it can be very difficult to import Scarlett's snotty tissue. I feel bad that I am the bearer of such bad news....after all it's almost Christmas and that tissue could have been on a loved one list.....Happy Holidays! :o)


Clint said...

Damn! I thought I finally had a killer Christmas gift for my brother. Stupid Health Canada and your stupid pathogen ban.

Dominic (aka Dr. B) said...

I know....I feel the same way! :o)