Re: tapeworms (was Re: Leeches)

Joseph Askew (
Fri, 20 Oct 1995 03:50:24 GMT

In article <464q0p$> (Joel and Lynn GAzis-SAx) writes:

>Seriously, I have read the book, too and can grimly recommend it. Even more
>exciting is a general medical text on Parasitology. Parasites are so endemic
>in the tropics that they are part of the way of life there. One of the big
>problems with dealing with parasites (particularly schistotomiasis (sp.) is
>getting people to change their habits. In the Caribbean, a big cultural
>problems has been posed by strict Rastafarians who reserve their right to
>defecate in the woods. Since feces are a major avenue for the transmission of
>parasites, this naturally does not help public health efforts.

I was having a chat with a linguist professor the other day
and he was telling me about field work in Papua New Guinea.
His advice which I have taken to heart is that before you go
to any village you have to find out of the people have what
I think he called alienable or non-alienable excrement. Those
that have non-alienable excrement do not believe there is
anything special about defecation. This means they do tend
to do it in public places. Those with alienable excrement
tend to believe that if someone gets hold of some of yours
they can put a curse on you and otherwise make your life
miserable. This means they tend to go out in to the deep
forest with a shovel to do their business and then bury it
secretly. This makes for a much more hygenic village and a
generally pleasant stay. I was going to sneer at this odd
barbarism but come to think of it with modern tabloid TV
going through people's trash, if the National Inquirer
could do you think they wouldn't analyise Roseanne's crap?