The Urban Chicken Sicken Movement

Salmonella anyone?  Looks like the country’s largest source of salmonella infections comes from personal poultry.


From tainted pre-cut melons to pig-ear dog treats, there’s been a slew of recalls this year due to outbreaks of salmonella infections. Yet by far the biggest source of the bacteria hasn’t involved a recall at all. It stems from backyard flocks, the growing trend of raising chickens and other poultry for eggs and companionship.

What kind of sick-pup lightweight keeps chickens for companionship?  Eggs, meat, compost, manure, bug control, and a back-up alarm clock, OK.  But companionship?  That’s some kind of seriously anti-social tic.

Especially troubling is nearly a quarter, or 24%, of the illnesses involve kids. This year, there are “156 children under the age of five that have come into contact with poultry and gotten sick,” Nichols said. “Young kids are more likely to kiss, cuddle or snuggle with poultry and then may not wash their hands as thoroughly,” she explained.

Jeez, what disgusting dirty child abusers!  Anyone who’s watched chickens scratch and eat knows they’re the original Dirty Birds, and keeps their kids from using them as cuddly playtoys.  Amazing to see such backwoods trash behavior pop up in folks who ought to know better.

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To every thing, there is a season

Most of us are aware of the seasonal cycle of influenza outbreaks, which for Americans peak in the winter. In a new paper, Micaela Martinez, PhD, a scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, makes a case that all infectious diseases have a seasonal element. The “Pearl” article appears in the journal PLOS Pathogens. [my emphasis]

We all knew this, we just didn’t know we knew this.  Some folks are recognized as geniuses for explicating the obvious.  I’m look at you, Micaela Martinez.

CalendarOfEpidemics

Tip from Austin Bay writing at the Instatpundit,  who, like the BlogFather himself, can make even the most boring stuff sound interesting.

Hunting the Wild Placebo

The New York Times’ Gary Greenberg asks “What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?” and gets some interesting answers.  Along the way, he tells the interesting history of the placebo and how it has become a standard in FDA=approved clinical trials.  My only question for the FDA is this:  if someone were to attempt to certify a placebo effect, what would you compare it to?PlaceboElixir
Tip from Drudge, who, like a blind squirrel, occasionally finds a fresh nut, and never leaves a permalink.

Feline Fatal Attraction

GermyCat

I’ve long maintained that toxoplasma gondii is a pernicious parasite, and that folks with outdoor cats are taking a huge health risk.  Turns out there’s solid research backing my opinion.

The psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey agrees… His opinion stems from decades of research into the root causes of schizophrenia. “Textbooks today still make silly statements that schizophrenia has always been around, it’s about the same incidence all over the world, and it’s existed since time immemorial,” he says. “The epidemiology literature contradicts that completely.” In fact, he says, schizophrenia did not rise in prevalence until the latter half of the 18th century, when for the first time people in Paris and London started keeping cats as pets. The so-called cat craze began among “poets and left-wing avant-garde Greenwich Village types,” says Torrey, but the trend spread rapidly—and coinciding with that development, the incidence of schizophrenia soared.

Since the 1950s, he notes, about 70 epidemiology studies have explored a link between schizophrenia and T. gondii. When he and his colleague Robert Yolken, a neurovirologist at Johns Hopkins University, surveyed a subset of these papers that met rigorous scientific standards, their conclusion complemented the Prague group’s discovery that schizophrenic patients with Toxo are missing gray matter in their brains. Torrey and Yolken found that the mental illness is two to three times as common in people who have the parasite as in controls from the same region.

When’s someone going to do toxo testing on cat ladies?

Today I learned some new phrases

Say what you will about mindlessly surfing the Internet, I’m always learning something in my semi-random virtual peregrinations

  • Those places aren’t sh!th*les, they’re “fecalized environments,”
  • I had no idea the urge to knock 20 pounds off my lazy ass was “healthism,” and
  • Skipping the purchase of a shooting vest kept me from becoming a “tactical hobo.”

I do have a long-standing peeve against the phrase “earth tones” when applied to clothing.  In my experience that means dirt-colored, for which the widespread remedy seems to be washing everything together in hot water, so it all comes out a dingy grey, like that Abercrombie and Fitch crap the college kids wear.  Not a good look, unless you’re a non-tactical hobo.

UntimateTacticalHobo
However, the well-dressed tactical hobo does wear earth tones.

UpdateTamara Keel sheds some light on the whole tactical hobo thing, and throws some links that lead me to the cringe-worthy term “tacticool.”  Tip from the Instapundit.