FASHION CONTAGION: Roger Freeman and his pathogen-inspired silk ties, shown here with images of syphilis and herpes.
PATHOGENIC NECKTIES: The late musician and artist Jerry Garcia may have some microscopic competitors in the necktie business. At the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting in Atlanta May 17-21, a company called Health Media International sold Contagious Wearables--silk ties and scarves imprinted with images of such old-time pathogens as malaria, cholera, and measles; newer entrants such as hantavirus and HIV; and a host of sexually transmitted disease agents. Each tie or scarf comes with a description of the pathogen, and 10 percent of the proceeds is donated to organizations that deal with infectious diseases, says Roger Freeman, a dentist who took over the business when it was failing in midwestern department stores. Contagious Wearables debuted on...

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