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January 09, 2006

It's Not Just the Bird Flu They're Fighting

...but cultural differences as well.

The doctor said the youngsters most likely contracted the virus while playing with the heads of dead chickens infected with the disease. The children had reportedly tossed the chicken heads like balls inside their house in Dogubayazit, near the Iranian border.

This cached page of the MSNBC.com report has the paragraphs in it about the children playing with body parts that I'd originally read. Those references have been completely removed from the latest pages and I'm not sure they should have been. So far there hasn't yet been a 'proximity to chicken' transmission. These poor babies had been both exposed to fluids and injested infected chicken. But it also shows just how tough it's going to be to get a handle on it, when the lives of Turkish/Chinese/Iranian/Afghani/Vietnamese/fill-in-the-blank villagers and their livestock are so thoroughly intertwined. And the world is now so thoroughly small. We live in this lovely, sanitized bubble on the globe and tend to forget just how lucky we are.

Then when this stuff arrives via the 3:30 a.m. Singapore Air from Taipei, or in the hold of the cargo ship from Kenya, we're shocked and we shouldn't be. We should be ready. What happens to some sweet little kids in an obscure Turkish village matters very much, indeed.

Posted by tree hugging sister at January 9, 2006 02:22 PM


Playing with chicken heads?


Posted by: Mr. Bingley at January 9, 2006 02:45 PM

Gives a whole new meaning to chok ... never mind.

Posted by: Cullen at January 9, 2006 02:59 PM

Damn it Cullen you beat me to it, whoops is that a pun?

Posted by: major dad at January 9, 2006 03:19 PM

Dammit major dad, stop pulling those puds, er, puns around here.

Posted by: Cullen at January 9, 2006 03:45 PM

Okay, smarty pantses. Just because we've got a lovely case of Ebola doesn't mean you can't.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at January 9, 2006 04:43 PM

Geez, all this personal abuse......what gives?

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at January 9, 2006 04:43 PM

On a more serious note....hygiene standards are not the same around the world. That picture you paint of a "lovely, santized bubble" is very much the case, THS (as I am sure that you are aware).

On the rare occasions that I had the chance, I declined to eat from local vendors in Kuwait. The places actually looked somewhat clean, but weren't the near-sterile environments we see in resturants here in the US of A. And this was in a public sandwhich shop (of sorts). I'm certain that the more Third World the location, the less sanitary conditions will be. And I'm not even counting playing chicken.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at January 9, 2006 04:50 PM

I ate on the economy a couple of times in Afghanistan. I really didn't have a choice a couple of those times. Fortunately, I ate light and didn't have any problems. Good Lord, some of those butcher shops with the meat hanging and all the flies ... YUCK!

One of my troops, not so lucky. He was challenged to a ka-bob eating contest by a local during a humanitarian aid mission he went on. One, he lost the contest. Two, he was sick for three or four days.

Posted by: Cullen at January 10, 2006 07:21 AM

I remember my Latin History prof's horrified expression when he learned where I'd been eating for our first few days in Guatemala City. Everyone else was doing the hotel dining room thing and I was living large on the local economy. Had a few tastes I couldn't identify, but always figure it's best not to ask. That's been true in all my travels and travails. The thing that did give me a moment's pause was one of the girls who'd been scrupulous about soda, bottled water and eating at the hotel only, came down with a whopping case of amoebocytis in spite of everything. Lord, oh Lord, listening to her in agony until the US Embassy staff could safely med-evac her was awful. I've only gotten nailed once ~ brought down by a pizza in the PI. Right. Who orders one there. Not me anymore...at least not the 'garbage can' variety. (Cause it really was, I'm thinking.) But it wasn't intestinal ~ it was allergic. Three days of scarlet welted swelling starting at my navel and radiating it's way out to my extremities. (I'd very sore feet and fingertips the last day and a half.) Always figured it was some sort of pesticide or something, since the DDT trucks flooded us with a cloud every single day at dusk. God knows what they were using in the agricultural sections. Ick.

I'm thinking I have my scrabbling-in-the-peat-dirt-twig-and-human-flesh-eating Celtic ancestors to thank for my iron gullet. It saves me in spite of my predilection for bad decision making.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at January 10, 2006 10:09 AM