Infection and folk dancing - a few jottings as an aside from the main discussion.

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Looking to the future, an additional reason to stay at home may be the fear of catching a life threatening infection. During the last 50 years the chances of picking up a lethal infection via casual contact with other people has much diminished within 'first world' countries despite a vast increase in travel and consequent transport of bacteria around the world. Yet the age of antibiotics may soon be over.

What future then for crowded buses, trains, concert venues and dance halls? Will we enter an age in which fresh air and isolation from other people (and isolation from people from overseas) are considered the safe option? Already TB is making a comeback, and some strains are virtually untreatable. Some strains of sexually transmitted diseases can now be treated only using 'antibiotics of last resort'.

Dancing used to be 'at arms length' to abide by social norms - the minuet dance was one example. Might this soon be recommended on health grounds? Several of my dancing partners are appalled when there is someone in a crowded dance hall who obviously has a very bad cough or cold - but how do you avoid them? Yet other dancers object to opening windows to get some fresh air! There are dozens of interesting articles and talks on antibiotic resistance on youtube.

You can gauge the level of public concern by looking at the viewing figures for these videos, a mere few thousand over 5 years compared to millions of hits for 'teenage sex', 'computer hacking' or 'conspiracy theory' videos. Serious issues simply don't seem to register with most people - a study of youtube statistics might be used to quantify this.

Listen to Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer of Health in the UK, or to other contributors at TED talks here and here (this one suffers from a power outage unfortunately).

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