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Worst phrase connected with cholera: liters of ricewater stools. *shudder*

Infectious disease epi, social networking--sheesh, what's not to love about this post? And if you liked Hempel's book, you might want to check out Johnson's "The Ghost Map." It tells somewhat the same story, but puts it in the wider context of urban design (or lack thereof) and how sewage (and cholera in particular) has influenced that. I've been meaning to get up a review of it...maybe later this week I'll finally get to it.

"And should she be on the lookout for a nice Korean man who shares her interest in sewage and epidemiology, Kimba is still single, ladies."

Epidemiology? Check. Sewage? Well, does animal ass swabbing count? (Visual evidence! It's not cholera, but it's another gram-negative human pathogen...

I hosted your dread disease too, judging by timing and symptoms. My son got the ear infection, as a bonus. Seven minutes with the infected ear on a heating pad, and he stopped screaming. Then we both went back to sleep.

The best thing about ear infections is that you can never have more than two at a time.

As a cautionary tale of epiemiology gone wrong, some stories in Robert
Desowitz's " New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers-Tales of Parasites and People"
is worth a look. He describes, as a young parasitologist, going with a team in I think
New Guinea to a village to eradicate malaria sources, and dumping DDT in the ponds surrounding the
village---then being chased out of the region by spear and bow- and- arrow toting villagers
because those ponds grew a sort of cabbage that was the staple food for the people...

I wouldn't say that I'm interested in sewage so much as it's interested in me. Grabs your attention a little and won't let go. Then slaps you in the face once you get closer. Kinda like a woman... Uhm, not like that sort of thing happens to ME. The slapping part, I mean.

Waste management in some African/conflict/emergency contexts is a whole different ball of wax from a sewage system. A lot of people = a lot of poo. A lot of people with diarrheal diseases = a lot of runny poo. 20,000 refugees/IDPs = Oh shit!

In an emergency, you might have what are called defecation fields (aka "The shitting fields") where essentially you designate one area for people to make their long calls off of a plank of wood and you move the board a few feet down once everyone done fertilizing that strip of land. Or, for example, in a somewhat stabilized setting, in some parts of the the Kivu region of the Congo, you want to put in some latrines around a field hospital. You dig down one meter and you hit groundwater. "Uh, now what?"

Anyway, in the end, it's all about keeping the poopy out of people's mouths.

Let me add something about cholera:

Cholera, sometimes known as Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera, is an infectious gastroenteritis caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Transmission to humans occurs through the process of ingesting contaminated water or food. The major reservoir for cholera was long assumed to be humans themselves, but considerable evidence exists that aquatic environments can serve as reservoirs of the bacteria.

V. cholerae is a Gram-negative bacterium that produces cholera toxin, an enterotoxin, whose action on the mucosal epithelium lining of the small intestine is responsible for the characteristic massive diarrhea of the disease.

In its most severe forms, cholera is one of the most rapidly fatal illnesses known, and a healthy person may become hypotensive within an hour of the onset of symptoms; infected patients may die within three hours if treatment is not provided.

In a common scenario, the disease progresses from the first liquid stool to shock in 4 to 12 hours, with death following in 18 hours to several days without rehydration treatment.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.