From the Army’s deck of “Freedom Cards”

During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,  US Army issued a deck of playing cards with various messages on them.

suicide  6 of clubsFreedom cards suicide warnings


Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention(PAZ) is looking for donations

Give to PAZ and Feel Warm All Winter Long, Literally.

  Posted on October 17, 2013 by PAZ

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Our COO is on her way to Lima.

Give $75 to PAZ before October 24 and we will send you a fashionable traditional Peruvian alpaca  wool hat.

Give $125 and we will send you two!

Click on the hat to donate through gofundme.comperuvian hat

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New post at PAZ (Pan American Zoonotic Resarch and Prevention.

New Post at PAZ



New Post at Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention

New Post at Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention

It’s tough work in remote locations. 

Sophia Loren turns 79

Ok, it was on the 20th. Big deal. What’s a week when you’re 79 and  the most famous Italian beauty ever?

sophia now sophia-loren-20127130100138

The Passing of Thistle–A Poem by Peter Davison


This is our first summer without a dog.
Fifteen years of disgraces in the night
(tattered screen doors, overtuned garbage pails,
unexpected puddles on the guestroom bed,
and other misbehaviors) have ended at last.
She had a way of posing in the landscape,
arranging herself against a screen of trees,
upon a lawn or on an outdoor deck
so as to bring out the hero in photographers
who could focus on the challenge of her darkness.
When on the move she carried less distinction:
a scottie, long in the barrel, short of leg,
she trotted country roads like city sidewalks,
so long as a glance behind her could confirm
the support of the authority that gave her hers.
Absent such authority, she panicked:
could be found, after a search, hysterically
galloping somewhere in the wrong direction
if we returned from shopping or the movies
through a region she had not known long enough to own.
On her home turf she brooked no trespassing,
at least by motorcycles, dogs, or horses,
though she’d roll over basely for human intruders.
The children who had grown up while she watched
were patient, watching her as age declined
from sleepiness to blindness, deafness and
incontinence. Before her last collapse
she lived her life entirely through the nose
and sense of touch. And as they watched her sleep
they saw their childhoods disappearing with her
and by so much ceased a little to be children.

I who had shared, in my two-legged way,
in what I could grasp of her doggy memories,
knew we had lived through all the same affections,
felt the same losses, searched through an empty house
for someone who would never be returning,
brooded on sights and voices that had vanished.
Perhaps she had a way of understanding
our loss that she could never share with me,
but now our past belongs to me alone,
now that she’s gone, and no one else remembers
the weekends that we spent in the house together
letting each other in and out of doors.

Copyright © 1989 by Peter Davison. All rights reserved. As published in The Poems of Peter Davison (Knopf, 1995). 

Originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, September 1989. 

New Post at Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention (PAZ)



Click here if this isn’t patently idiotic to you→



Gross Picture Day

we haven’t done one of these for a while, so. . .

If you think it looks bad, just wait 'til you get a whiff of the odor.

If you think it looks bad, just wait ’til you get a whiff of the odor.

(And believe me, I could have found far more disgusting pictures.)

An outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa associated with a tattoo/piercing parlor in Rockford, IL is currently under investigation. Pseudomonas is a bacteria that causes some rather nasty, purulent (filled with pus, but there is no such word as pussy, pronounced with the short “u”) infections. So far, there are a total of 12 lab-confirmed cases and 4 probables. The various  county Boards of Health involved in the investigation will submit the samples for genetic testing to see if they are all related. So far, all the cases have been traced to the same tattoo parlor. 6 of the cases needed to be hospitalized, and 10 needed surgery. Infection of the ear can cause permanent disfigurement. The youngest person infected was 13 years old.

So about now you’re asking:


Well, probably not. Sort of.

If you think of all the ear piercings that go on every day, and then figure how rare infections are, it’s probable that normal ear piercing–done at the mall, pierced through the ear lobe–appears to  carry very little risk.(I haven’t done the research to back this up, but any reader is free to prove me wrong.) All of these cases were pierced through the top of the ear.

What else can I tell you about Pseudomonas?

1. It’s resistant to a lot of antibiotics. It has genes that code for  resistance, it can pick up genes for resistance from other organisms and incorporate them as well, and it has an envelope around it that is hard for antibiotics to penetrate.

2. It’s present in the environment, and often lives in hospital situations.

3. It loves to prey on cystic fibrosis patients and burn victims.


Cysticercosis Causes Seizures

Cysticercosis Handout


Cysticercosis is a parasitic infection caused by the larval cysts of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. These cysts can infect multiple tissues in the body. Neurocysticercosis, the disease that results when the infection occurs in the brain, is the major cause of adult seizures in Latin America and a leading cause of adult- onset seizures in low-income countries all over the world.

MRI of brain with multiple cysts from cysticercosis

MRI of brain with multiple cysts from cysticercosis

Cysticercosis is transmitted via the fecal-oral method. The process begins with one person eating infected, undercooked pork, acquiring a tapeworm infection, and then shedding eggs in his or her feces. If those eggs are ingested by this person or another human, cysticercosis ensues.

Web of Infection for cysticersosis

Web of Infection for cysticersosis

In this way, poor hygiene facilitates cysticercosis. Similarly, poor food safety practices perpetuate both the tapeworm infections and the cysticercosis transmission cycle. Through a combination of research, education and improved infrastructure, PAZ is working to reduce the disease burden of cysticercosis in Northern Peru. 

Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention (PAZ) is working to control cysticercosis in Northern Peru. Please click here (or on Brigitte in the left column) to donate!