Friday, September 13, 2013

Bizzare Incidents

My sister and I love watching the learning channel for their bone-chilling stories about the diseases and parasites that people can catch around the world.  One of our favorites is the show "Monsters Inside Me".  In our resulting paranoia we have adopted some key rules: When traveling be careful of where you go, what you eat, and especially where you pee.  We may go a little too far in putting the fear of God into everyone we encounter with our warnings, but these are intense! Be warned, this isn't for the faint of heart!

Where you go - Here, there, everywhere, watch out!

St. James Davis survived a horrific chimpanzee attack at a California wildlife rescue center in March 2005 - but not before his nose and mouth were ripped off, an eye was gouged out, his left foot was mangled and most of his fingers and buttocks were devoured.  He was in a medically induced coma for months. He's undergone more than 60 surgeries since. "I remember every bite, one at a time. I remember when I went to touch my face, my fingers looked really scary," Davis, told the Daily News. He nearly bled to death three times as two hospitals denied him entry before a trauma center agreed to take him, he said. "I remember hearing someone say, 'Might as well just take him to the coroner's office'".

What You Eat - I'm not saying don't eat, but I'd opt for cooked foods.

Snails are a delicacy in some countries, cooked of course. Raw, they pose an unexpected threat. Cases of ingesting the rat lungworm parasite have risen over the past few years, most prevalent in Hawaii. Snails carry this disease and when ingested, they cause human and animal abdominal angiostrongylisasis, which affects the digestive track and bowels.  Students on vacation in the Caribbean suffered from this devastating parasite after eating salad with a snail that had crawled in unnoticed and was cut up and dispersed. Unfortunately there were 6 casualties and many hospital stays.


Where You Pee - This one goes without saying. Just don't do it!

Candiru, is a type of fish located in the Amazon, and is also known as a toothpick fish, or a vampire fish.  They are attracted to the ammonia in urine and once they detect someone urinating in the warm waters, they have a tendency to quickly swim up the stream and directly into the urethra (mostly male genetalia, Ew!)  I can't say I haven't peed in the ocean before. Oops. So apparently they use their teeth to bite their way through into the bladder, up through the body, and feed on internal organs. Surgery to pull them out is the best way to eradicate this pest from one's body.  William S. Burroughs, the famous beatnik poet even wrote about these creatures and their habits in "Naked Lunch", describing them as "small eel-like rivers of ill-repute". Watch out! 

*Extra! - Also, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. You don't want a half inch french fry tearing your esophagus and putting you in the hospital for 3 months. (true story).

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