Month: February 2020



Feb 28th – Measles, sometimes known as rubeola, is a well-known, highly contagious virus. Although its telltale symptoms are body-covering red spots often accompanied by a mild fever, it is in fact a respiratory disease that can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and encephalitis (or brain swelling and degeneration). And indeed, in countries …

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Feb 27th – Although maggots’ reputation is primarily derived from their tendency to feed on refuse and fecal matter, it is their taste for decomposing flesh that has earned them genuine approbation. Since ancient times, maggots have helped save lives by efficiently and effectively cleaning wounds, including ones that might otherwise have been fatal. By …

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Feb 26th – Leprosy is an ancient bacterial disease which manifests itself as nerve damage, bulbous nodules, and skin sores. Although it is not very contagious and has an incubation period of many years, the horrifying disfigurement that leprosy produces has made it one of the more feared diseases. First recorded by the Egyptians in …

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Feb 25th – Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans that are best known as the favored diet of the blue whale. The largest animal on earth, the giant blue whale can eat up to 6 million krill a day! There are many species of krill found throughout the world’s oceans, but the most well known krill …

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Feb 24th – Malaria (Italian for “bad air”) is the work of the Plasmodium parasite and the Anopheles mosquito. When the mosquito stings an infected person, parasites are absorbed as it draws up blood. As the mosquito continues her rounds (only the females are bloodsuckers), the parasites are distributed and the disease spreads. The liver …

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Mad Cow Disease

Mad Cow disease

Feb 22nd – First identified in Britain in the mid-1980’s, Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), is generally thought to be the work of proteinaceous infectious particles, or prions. These inanimate amino acid chains (which are far smaller than bacteria or viruses, and are not destroyed by thorough cooking) normally twist like pretzels …

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Flesh-Eating Disease

Flesh-Eating Disease – Streptococcus Pyogenes

Feb 20th – Flesh-eating disease is no dieter’s dream – it’s a headline-grabbing nightmare most commonly caused by crazed strains of Streptococcus pyogenes, the same bacteria responsible for strep throats. (The term necrotizing fasciitis dates from the 1950’s and refers to the “death” of the “fibrous tissues” between muscles; but Hippocrates described patients whose “flesh, …

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