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.