Tulane docs squash the competition at Bug Bowl

How’s this for a tough final “Jeopardy!” question:  These tiny organisms have features of both worms and insects and are contracted from eating snakes? 

If you didn’t know that the answer is "What is pentastomida (tongue worms)?” don’t worry. It stumped a room full of hundreds of physicians from across the country last week gathered at ID Bug Bowl, a “Jeopardy!”-style quiz bowl at ID Week, a national conference in New Orleans hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Despite the challenging questions, Tulane University infectious disease residents and fellows dominated the contest, racking up 4,000 points to prevail against teams from LSU Health Sciences Center and Ochsner Health System. The contest featured obscure trivia about tropical medicine, parasites and rare diseases.

“The audience gasped that our residents and fellows knew the answers to these questions because they were so tough!” said Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels, associate program director of Tulane’s infectious disease fellowship. “The audience didn’t even know the answers to most of them.”

Tulane’s winning team included Drs. Sarah Labuda, Jo-Ann Jose, Poppy Markwell and Libby Van Gerwen.

More than 400 physicians from around the world packed the auditorium to watch the contest, which was designed as an entertaining way to test infectious disease knowledge. Most of the questions were on tropical and travel-related diseases, which are extensively covered in Tulane University of Public Health and Tropical Medicine training programs taught by Dr. Susan McLellan, associate professor of medicine, and Dr. Maggie Silio, associate professor of clinical pediatrics.

“I’m so proud of our team. One of the fellows got two job offers just from her performance at the competition,” Van Sickels said.