Sunday, February 22, 2004

When stupidity is contagious

An old Irish blessing goes something like this:
"May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping."
Lately the world's Muslims haven't been so awfully friendly and it appears that some are choosing option #3 - Nigerians won't take a polio drug because they think it'll give them AIDS. Some think it'll make them sterile too.

Actually the AIDS concern is not as paranoid as it sounds. Despite the politically correct claim that "anyone can get AIDS", much of the problem in Africa is caused by reusing dirty needles, even by health professionals.

So, does poliomyelitis turn ankles? We should do so well. Thanks to a huge public health effort the public can now be ignorant of polio's effects - if you know an American citizen who has had it, odds are they are in their late 50s or older. So many might not appreciate its toll, which accounted for the common alternate name "infantile paralysis".

According to UNICEF:
By the end of 2002, the poliovirus was circulating in only seven coutnreis including Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia. In these countries, polio is isolated to limited areas. But as long as polio exists anywhere, it threatens children's lives. The remaining seven countries pose the greatest challenge.
This says polio at its peak killed or paralyzed half a million people every year.

The bottom line is that this stupidity by Nigerian authorities might ultimately become a health threat to you in the USA.

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