Wanna Hear Somethin’ REALLY Gross?

Taenia Solium. Sometimes known as cysticercosis. Not grossed out yet?

Maybe I should describe what it is. Okay, you twisted my arm! (I’m terrible.)

It’s a big part of why pork is considered treyf (Hebrew for “unclean”) in Jewish culture…pork is typically contaminated with the eggs of taenia solium, which are parasitic tapeworms that grow in and feed off of humans and animals alike. Here’s how it works: pig eats slop; pig takes on tapeworm larvae; pig gets slaughtered; pork sold to people; pork is sometimes undercooked; people eat pork; people contract eggs; eggs hatch in the intestinal tract; tapeworm grows.

NOW are you grossed out?

It gets even better. There’s so much more to it. Eating tainted, undercooked pork (and you really should consider all pork tainted) easily passes the eggs on to people; according to Dr. Peter Nakaji of the Barrow Neurological Institute here in Phoenix, an expert on the subject, the eggs can survive in formaldehyde for up to three months. Resilient lil’ bastards, ain’t they? However, there’s a far easier way of spreading them: contact with a person who doesn’t wash their hands enough. A single tapeworm can release 50,000 eggs a day, most of which we pass when we drop the kids off at the pool (please don’t ask me to explain that joke). So if you shake hands with a person who isn’t as sanitary as you might like, guess what? You’ve got new friends!

Even more disgusting, though–same goes for the people who handle your food. EEEEEWWWWW!!!

The parasites you consume with undercooked pork typically latches onto your intestines, but the kind that join you from a handshake or passed on the onions on your burger? THOSE ones typically eat your brain. No kidding, folks. A woman right here in Phoenix became a case study in parasitic tapeworms that actually slowly feed in your cranium when she went into surgery and the doctor didn’t find a tumor, but a tapeworm–it was wrapped around her brain stem. She contracted it by eating food prepared by a person who didn’t wash their hands after coming out of the loo. In other words, you contract this little guy by eating feces-tainted food. Gimme my burger NOW! Yay, convenience!

What’s my point? According to biology professor Raymond Kuhn, also an expert on such parasites, taenia solium is a massive problem in Mexico and Latin America–where food and health codes are difficult to enforce. With the rising exodus of people into the United States, experts say their bad habits don’t change at the border (any more than their penchant for driving drunk, I’d expect). The number of such cases has risen every single year as the illegal immigration problem has continued to worsen. Don’t even get me started on tuberculosis; I had to be treated for that horrid disease when I was working for ICE as a corrections officer because half the guys we had in there had it–and not just any TB, those dudes had the drug-resistant form that required drugs that made me more sick than actual TB would’ve made me!

WHEW. Okay, take a breath…

Talk about the ick factor! There are so many reasons to enforce immigration laws, this is just one more. Tip of the mean black cowboy hat to Tammy Bruce for reminding me that I needed to post on this; I actually had a draft typed up and completely forgot about it.

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7 thoughts on “Wanna Hear Somethin’ REALLY Gross?

  1. God, thankfully we don’t do pork for Thanksgiving.

    Although I did try the Baconator at Wendys yesterday. 😉

    But of course, it boils down to our horrible border-security issues. I wouldn’t even drink the water when we visited Tijuana.

  2. EEEEW!!!

    “But of course, it boils down to our horrible border-security issues. I wouldn’t even drink the water when we visited Tijuana.”

    I politely disagree. It boils down to our overly generous system of Government benefits. It boils down to employers who knowingly hire illegals because they won’t pay higher wages. If you remove the carrot then the horse won’t trot.

  3. Boarder security issues aside, how about some basic, general hygiene lessons for workers who, regardless of the legal status, probably have the same unsanitary bad habits. Let’s start with “do not take a dump in the fields where you pick the produce”… Or my personal favorite, “when you wipe, the tissue goes into the toilet, not next to the toilet or carried to the garbage can”…

  4. A well-known and well-respected doctor in California–her name escapes me at the moment–brought up this point in a lecture last year. She talked about diseases such as polio, even the bubonic plague, that we had all but eradicated within our borders. A number of diseases (including TB, dammit) have seen a resurgence as people who don’t obey the law and therefore don’t undergo a physical before being given a visa slip into the country and spread the love.

    That’s not a racist thing, nor is it an elitist thing. It’s reality. I don’t think we’d be discussing universal health care if it weren’t for the millions who have managed to wriggle out of their medical bills. In the same way, we wouldn’t be treating DR-TB if we’d enforce the laws and keep them all out of here.

  5. Ah, but the flip side of obsessive hygiene is the rise in crazy and life threatening allergies we’ve been seeing lately.

    I grew up spending a lot of time at my Pop’s farm, where it is physically impossible to remain clean for more than about 5 seconds. I’ve also had remarkably few health problems compared to a lot of my peers. My grandfather died at 93, my Grandmother is still kicking in her own house and driving herself around at 93.

    Preliminary studies have shown that we so successfully removed the icks from our environment that children’s bodies are now turning inward and attacking things normally seen as benign – or even beneficial.

    The brain worm was revolting, but on the other hand – how many people get brain worms? And how many tens of thousands of kids are now seriously allergic to peanuts? I’ve seen a kid collapse from being exposed to peanuts.

    Really – the worms are nasty. But hygiene is not the only problem at play with them.

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