The Day Coca–Cola wanted to buy our Water.

If it had washed over you last night then let me repeat a very simple fact. If you live in Vienna you drink the cleanest mineral water from the tap, you shower in mineral water, you wash your car with mineral water and if you have a garden you water it with mineral water.

Even the toilet you flush every day is with mineral water. The Vienna Water, the purest in the world, known as Wiener Hochquellwasser, protects us from typhoid that was once so rampant in London and before it was piped in from the mountains also in Vienna. No wonder that beady-eyed foreign companies were so keen to buy, up to now unsuccessfully, our Vienna Water!


Before we were treated to a rare spectacle of a, as someone called it, “scientific cabaret performance” by Univ. Prof DDr Wolfgang Graninger, we were reminded by our President Prof Dr Kurt Tiroch that this was already the 25th event of ultimately 37 planned!


In a breath-taking tour de force, peppered or rather spiced with humorous quips and vitriolic puns he took us through the panopticum of infectious diseases and their sometime see-saw treatment. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, known as MRSA was all but eradicated in the UK until the government, cash strapped as ever, halved the nursing staff in NHS hospitals causing its rapid return. The same can be said about measles where ill-judged advice through an ideologically blinded pressure group said that children need not to be vaccinated against that disease ignoring that it may not be that risky to them but to unprotected adults it can be deadly. It seems that Austria has learned from it as she has done with the poxvirus. Poxvirus, any of a group of viruses constituting the family Poxviridae, responsible for a wide range of pox diseases in humans and other animals. In humans, variola major and variola minor isolates of the poxvirus species Variola virus were the cause of smallpox, which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980 by the World Health Organization. (Chickenpox of humans is caused by a herpesvirus)


The case of Microcephaly reads like a tale of world conspiracy. Microcephaly is a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head. It may be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life. An infection by the Zika virus, say via mosquitoes, even though 80% may show no symptoms, can be critical during pregnancy leading to the above mentioned intrauterine deformation so prominent since 2015 in Brazil. Enter the Japanese Sumitomo Chemical Company part of the big Monsanto Empire which added insecticides into the water (Pernambuco) during the Olympic Games to prevent malaria but a journalist suspected that this practice adding chemicals to water also caused intrauterine disturbances.


In wine one may find truth but also longevity. Dr. Roger Corder from the London William Harvey Research Institute travelled to the south west of France to research why there are so many centenarians. The reason was found in imbibing a special red wine, from the grape of Vitis vinifera 'Tannat'. It may produce very old people but it’s an acquired taste: it is described as being pretty sour. Apparently Klosterneuburg and Horitschon in the Burgenland are producing it also.


And finally to the Superbug, NDM-1 Bacteria. NDM-1 refers to a gene that is carried by some bacteria. A bacterial strain that carries the NDM-1 gene will be resistant to even some of the strongest antibiotics. NDM-1 stands for New Delhi metallo-ß-lactamase-1. It was first isolated in a Swedish patient of Indian origin who travelled to India in 2008. What led to the emergence of NDM-1 in India is not clear. It is understood, however, it responds to Meropenem.


After all that Prof Graninger gave us oldies (there were some in the audience over the age of 65) sound advice: Pneumococcal Vaccination with Prevnar 13®. One jab, he says, lasts a lifetime and saves you from pneumonia. So get it done before the winter and together with several glugs of Tannat Wine you’ll all live happily to the age of 150 unless you smoke it’s down to 110.


What else is there to report? Following the Question and Answer Session we were treated by the Café Ministerium to a superb flying buffet with delicious dishes and plenty of drinks. I can’t help myself by giving you a dig: If you have not been present last night then you have missed a fascinating event!


Wolfgang Geissler




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