Posts Tagged ‘death’

Rabies!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
The bat is the most likely carrier of rabies

The bat is the most likely carrier of rabies
copyright: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

Yesterday I became aware that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia is warning travelers to Norway of the rabies carried by bats in my country. Have a look at this link, in Norwegian only. Apparently they are warning about rabies in bats in all European countries on their “Health Information for Travelers” pages that cover most, if not all, countries in the world. Rabies is a very, very serious illness and I am not saying that getting a vaccine against it (or any other serious disease for that matter, vaccines are a good thing!) is not smart, but there should be a level of quality control in the warnings posted.

Here is the complete warning from the CDC:

Rabies is present in bats in Norway. However, it is not found in dogs and is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).

In Norway the doctors are suspecting that a case from June 2013 – the death from meningitis of a woman in an Oslo hospital – may be rabies related. If so, she has picked up the disease somewhere other than in Norway – as we have not had a rabies death since 1815 and there has never been any confirmed cases of rabies in bats or any other animal on Norwegian soil. That means that we have had no deaths from rabies in almost 200 years. My country has done tremendous work to keep the disease out, even though it has been present on occation in our neighboring countries. The woman had been visiting her origin country in Asia, a place with substantial amounts of rabies in animals. She has most probably picked it up there.

Anyway, it is still not confirmed whether it is rabies or not – but we do know she did not pick it up in Norway if it is.

I like the work of the CDC and all other organizations that are warning travelers or its inhabitants of the possibility of infectious diseases – and I think information is the key to prevent the unnecessary spread of easily avoidable diseases and infections. I do not, however, condone the spreading of fear that this is an example of. It is important that the information coming from the CDC (and others) is correct, truthful and updated. This information about Norway is not, and it undermines the believability of all CDC information in my view. I do not have the numbers, but I bet that many other countries on the “rabies list” do not have problem with this disease either.

What about other diseases that they are warning people about when traveling, how accurate is this information?? I don’t know, I have not checked all the information available on their page, and I do not have information on the various diseases present in all the ~200 countries of the world.

Global Rabies WHO 2008

copyright: who.int

 

When checking on the Internet for information about the subject, I came across the World Health Organization overview of rabies in the world, and it’s just as inaccurate, unfortunately. WHO also uses the shotgun approach and claims that there is rabies present in bats in Norway and all other countries in Europe, in addition to the US and other places. Only New Zealand is said to be completely rabies free. The WHO also warn travelers to get vaccines if likely to get in contact with bats.

Europe is not a country, nor is Africa, North or South-America, Asia or Oceania – and the information provided cannot cover whole continents, it must be country specific. If the CDC and WHO are reusing information from one country on all the others in the same vicinity, it’s hurting their credibility.

The thing you do not want when informing people about potentially life threatening diseases, is the loss of credibility – it can be a killer.

Killer roads

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

car_accident_crashInspired by my own blog post yesterday about texting while driving, I decided to check out some road safety commercials on youtube. I have seen many more traffic accidents up close and personal than I would like to think about, and in most cases – they were completely unnecessary.

Most people, and perhaps myself included, have a nonchalant view on driving and rarely thinks about the consequences of being on the road. One thing is what can happen to your car, loosing your license etc, few of us think about the harm we can cause others. The legislation in most countries have specific laws on accidents caused by negligence or intentionally, and most do not really know how low negligence will go when the ifs and buts of the accident are discussed in court months later. Its probably enough to be texting on your phone, driving 20 km/h above the posted speed limit, the fact that you had bad tires or brakes, was drunk, was overloaded your car and the list goes on.

Since I spend quite a lot of time on the road, and try to buckle up my seat belt, drive safely and responsible – I too am relying on that all the rest of you are doing the same. From my previous experience, I know that many are not. Anyway, enough morals, please have a look at some road safety films that I found, and they should all make you think how you drive. If not, you are downright stupid and should have your license revoked. That last bit is not a joke, btw..

Things not to do: Texting while driving

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

mobiles driving deathThe Gwent Police in Wales has paired up with local talent to produce a “what if”-video of young people texting while driving. It turns out that this is a huge problem amongst young drivers, and is potential disastrous – as it may take away up to 35% of your attention. With todays complicated traffic and amount of idiot drivers, you need that 35%!

Chief Inspector John Pavett from Gwent Police Roads Policing Unit hopes the serious message in this film will hit home to viewers and sais: “I hope that after watching this film motorists will think twice before picking up their mobile phone when behind the wheel and realize that a quick reply to a text message or answering a phone call is never worth putting theirs and other people’s lives at risk.”

If you have a drivers license, you should really spend the few minutes it takes to see this video – it will definitely make you think. You may have to confirm your birth date to see the video, as the content is not for minors.

Surveys have shown that six our of ten use their mobile phone while driving, either by calling or sending SMS messages. Among young people under 30, seven out of ten have SMS’ed while driving. Men use their mobile phone more than women while driving.

We should all stop using our cell phones while driving unless equipped with a complete hands free setup, and we’ll all be around much longer.

Is scaring smokers effective?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

In Norway, the department of Health have finally decided to put images and text on the packs of smokes that are available in our shops. In the past they only had text like “Smoking kills”, “Smoking is highly addictive” and “Smoking can cause cancer”. A survey performed among 1000 people of all ages, sexes and smoking habits assisted in the selection of the images. The survey showed that younger people respond better to images relating to things they care about, like potency and appearance – while older people were more fact driven. Below are the images chosen in Norway. You have to click them to see them in all their glory:

I am a former smoker, and quit while there was still only text on the cigarettes. Is it really necessary to enhance the “Smoking kills” message by putting images on them? I don’t really know. After decades of being hammered with the unhealthiness of smoking, I think everybody knows that smoking does not improve you in any way, neither physically, mentally or coolness-wise. We all know they are coffin nails and half of those who smoke regularly will die from a smoke related disease. In Norway, even advertising cigarettes (and alcohol btw) is illegal and anything even resembling an ad for cigarettes is instantly banned. I am glad, however, that they chose somewhat less intrusive imagery than the ones I saw when in Thailand:

Most smokers say that they are planning to quit or reduce their smoking, and recent studies have shown that less young people begin to smoke now. I think this is good news, and should reduce the number of deaths among smokers in the long run. Many young people replace smoking with “snusing”, using “Snus” – a smokeless tobacco. This does not, as far as we know now, have the same health issues as smoking, but is just as addictive – if not more addictive – than smoking. Below is some images for your enjoyment of snus and people using it 🙂

Omer Bhatti – the non son of Michael Jackson

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Omer Bhatti at the Michael Jackson funeral

Omer Bhatti at the Michael Jackson funeral

Norway does not have many internationally renowned celebrities, movie stars or artists, but we do have one and he is world famous in Norway 🙂 Because of this fact, anything that makes Norwegians interesting is good stuff for our media.

In 1996 the then 12 year old Omer Bhatti from Oslo, Norway stood outside the hotel of Michael Jackson in Tunisia, dressed as his idol. After performing a few dance moves, Michael Jackson noticed him and invited the family to his room. As far as I know both mother, father and siblings were invited and it all resulted in the Bhatti family trailing the Jackson entourage all over the world for several years. The Bhattis also stayed at the Neveraland ranch with Jackson for long periods.

Still, unless Michael Jackson – in addition to being a shape shifter also can travel in time – he is not the father of Omer Bhatti, even though some UK tabloids has speculated about this “fact“.

Omer Bhatti travelled to Los Angeles immediately after the death of Michael Jackson, as he has a good relationship with Jacksons children. In the mayhem that ensued over there, I guess they needed a sane, calm and caring friend. Norwegian media has been climbing over one another to bring us information about the friendship between Bhatti and Jackson, and he has not made any statements to any media. He stated this on his ObeeGalaxy blog Just because you read it in a magazine or see it on the TV screen Don’t make it factual”

The above message has later been replaced by this:

lack

Omer Bhatti prefer to give no statements about his friend, their relationship and the connection he has with the Jackson children. I think this is a mature and correct decision, but that does not calm the press in any way.

Today one of our major newspapers, VG, stated the followning “news” over one full page in the paper issue – and I will translate the headline for you non norwegians out there: Went SHOPPING with the Jackson children.

Basically the story is this, and this is all it is: The Norwegian Omer Bhatti (25) has been shopping with the children of Michael Jackson – in identical shoes as the pop legends youngest son!” “Omer went shopping with Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr (12) and Prince Michael Jackson II (7) at the Barnes and Noble bookstore. Along with them was also the two children of Jermaine Jackson, Jaffar (13) and Jermajesty (9). Omer had the same shoes as Prince Michael Jackson II, aka “Blanket”.

Holy crap people, is this news or news worthy in any way, shape or form?? He had the same shoes! My God, stop the press! There is also a link to images on a blog somewhere, so we can all see the proof of this sensation. Liking the same shoes or clothes as an idols son is sufficient to fill a page in a national newspaper – at least in my country – but I suspect that its more or less the same all over.

It is now six weeks or so since Michael Jackson met his maker, and personally I am so utterly fed up with all the micro-news we have been presented with ever since. Michael Jackson had a pimple on his ass! Michael Jackson is gay and met his male lovers in sleazy hotels! Michael Jackson is not the father of his children! Michael Jackson was killed/took an overdose/had an accident/killed himself!

Its enough now, I am done – I think we all are. This latest “news” about the shoes was the drop for me. Its time to skip through anything bearing any resemblance to Michael Jackson news for a while. Its a shame, really, as the guy was gifted as an artist, although flawed as a person – and I fear that his legacy will be that of an eccentric, not an important recording and performance artist. I even experienced him live once, and there is no doubt that he was a fabulous entertainer.

Edit: In a recent interview with Larry King on CNN, Jermaine Jackson further the confusion by saying that he was unsure if Omer Bhatti was Michaels son or not.