The University of Arizona Learn About Germs







Influenza season can begin as early as October. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu shot as soon as they are available in your community. Anyone over the age of 6 months, is recommended to receive the flu vaccine. For information on the current influenza vaccine, see the following CDC report:


2011–12 Influenza Vaccine and Vaccination Information  

                                                                                            Photo: CDC images


For more tips on how to stay healthy this flu season, follow our link to the CDC advisory:


"Take 3" Actions to Prevent the Flu



The headlines read: "Worst", "deadliest in a decade", "killer cantaloupe"- all describing the recent foodborne outbreak involving cantaloupe and a bacterial pathogen known as Listeria. As of September 26, 2011, as many as 16 people are reportedly dead and 72 sickened in an outbreak that originated in Colorado produce and now involves at least 18 states. Most of those that have died in the outbreak are elderly (average age of 78), and thus were generally more susceptible to microbial infections and adverse outcomes of those infections. Authorities have linked most of the fatal cases to consumption of Rocky Ford brand cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Holly, Colorado.


To learn more about the cantaloupe/Listeria outbreak or to find out about specific product recalls, follow the link below to an Associated Press report and video:


More on the Cantaloupe Outbreak- Product Recalls

Photo by: Scott Bauer, USDA



Welcome to Learn About Germs



Welcome to This website is designed to provide information about past, present and emerging issues related to germs, drawing from my 20+ years experience as a research microbiologist. Within the site, you will find information on the top disease-causing microbes and how to avoid them, in addition to many of the public misconceptions related to exposure to germs in the environment.


Like germs, this site is continuously evolving. Be sure to visit often for updated and seasonal information as well as streaming topic discussions. We welcome your suggestions and personal insights into the world of germs via Dr. Reynolds’ blog. Remember, sometimes what you can’t see CAN hurt you!



About Dr. Reynolds

Dr. Kelly Reynolds

Kelly A. Reynolds, Ph.D., is an associate professor at The

University of Arizona with a specialty in environmental health science research, quantitative risk assessment, and public health policy and education. Dr. Reynolds, PhD, has worked as a researcher and public health educator in environmental science, specializing in water quality, food safety and disease transmission. Her extensive experience in those research areas includes her role as a principal investigator of numerous projects and the publication of hundreds of journal articles, book chapters and professional reports.


Dr. Reynolds is most proud of her role as a mother to three young children, or "germ factories" as she affectionately calls them. As a mom and a scientist she understands the importance of minimizing children's exposure to germs.