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Sunny Skies and a Lurking Microbe


Kim R. Finer
Department of Biological Sciences
Kent State University at Stark


Based on a true story, this case study chronicles the development of a wound infection that began as a minor cut that occurred while carrying out a typical household task (moving furniture).  Identifying the causative agent ultimately took three separate visits to a clinical setting over the course of three months.  The cause of infection (which is a bit surprising and unusual) was only identified after a specimen from the wound was obtained.  By reading the case study, students follow the treatment plan in a step-wise fashion and answer questions related to diagnosis and treatment.  They are also asked to critique or question the approach based upon previous knowledge or knowledge gained during investigation of case details. This case is appropriate for an undergraduate allied health microbiology course; an infectious disease module in an undergraduate major's microbiology course; or an introductory post-graduate professional allied health course. In all situations, research questions can be modified or expanded to address the appropriate student level and course/module learning objectives.


  • Explain that infectious agents have a variety of reservoirs and are transmitted in different modes.
  • List the range of etiological agents (fungal and bacterial) that cause cellulitis/wound infections.
  • Understand the concept that various antibiotics target specific groups of microbes often based upon microbial biological properties (i.e., cell wall composition) and be able to predict antibiotic effectiveness based upon the isolated organism's characteristics.
  • Define and appropriately use the following microbiological terms: cellulitis, Gram stain, anaerobes, aerobes, enrichment culture, and acid-fast bacterium.
  • Connect patient parameters/history to potential infectious disease processes and outcomes.
  • Explain the impact of anti-inflammatory medication use during an infectious disease process.


Mycobacterium; bacteria; infection; infectious disease; cellulitis; medical care; acid fast bacterium

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Professional (degree program), Clinical education



Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Interrupted



Subject Headings

Microbiology  |   Epidemiology  |   Nursing  |   Public Health  |  

Date Posted


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