Blog | Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Freedom of contagion

This blog tries not to be “political” (Too many trolls). But who'd have predicted that infection prevention would suddenly become a partisan political issue? Wow.

I was tempted to write a post about how misguided the anti-vaccine movement is (or how selfish, depending as it does on the responsible majority for herd immunity). But now I think I'm starting to get it. It's all about freedom! For too long the heavy hand of government has oppressed us with mandates to prevent infection. Thom Tillis (R-NC) nailed it with his devastating criticism of requirements that restaurant employees wash their hands. Let the free market do its work instead! As long as there is transparency, of course:

While we're at it, what right does the government have to restrict my ability to make a right turn on a red light? Or obey traffic signals and speed limits at all? Freedom!

I blame the social contract, that outdated theory positing that individuals should surrender some of their freedoms to achieve other benefits. Sure, life might be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” in the absence of the social contract, but at least it's free.

Daniel J. Diekema, MD, FACP, practices infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, and hospital epidemiology in Iowa City, Iowa, splitting time between seeing patients with infectious diseases, diagnosing infections in the microbiology laboratory, and trying to prevent infections in the hospital. This post originally appeared at the blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention.