Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Feeding the Chickens
George Vicat Cole
Oil on canvas
10 by 14.1/2 inches

People are living longer than ever before and there are more healthy centegenarians now than ever. We don't have as many communicable diseases as our grandparents did because we have antibiotics and we know more about hygiene. But in spite of this, we are a nation of hypochondriacs and we are afraid of everything. If a disease doesn't exist, we make one up. (Fibromyalgia, anyone?) Today we received the following bulletin at work, and when I read it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

You've heard about the chicken that crossed the road. But have you heard the one about the chickens travelling down the road? It's no laughing matter. Crates of chickens being trucked along the highway in the back of an open truck can shoot a bunch of nasty bacteria into the cars behind them, researchers have found. Drivers stuck behind such a truck should "pass them quickly," advised study co-author Ana Rule, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Even so, it's not clear that germy debris will make you sick. None of the scientists who studied this problem got sick. And the disease-causing bacteria in question are normally spread by food or water, not air. Rule and her colleagues at the Bloomberg School of Public Health focused on the so-called Delmarva Peninsula, a coastal area that includes parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The region is a chicken mecca, with one of the highest concentrations of broiler chickens per hectare in the nation.

The researchers chose a 27-kilometre stretch of highway connecting chicken farms in Maryland to a processing plant to the south in Accomac, Va. They rode in four-door cars with all the windows down and the air conditioning off. They checked the cars for bacteria after driving when there were no chicken trucks around. And they checked for bacteria after 10 trips behind flatbed trucks carrying crates of broiler chickens. They collected bacteria from air samples, door handles and soda cans inside the car. In all the truck chases, they found high levels of certain bacteria, including some that are resistant to antibiotics. The study, released this week, is being published in the first issue of the Journal of Infection and Public Health, and it's billed as the first to look at whether poultry trucking exposes people to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. ... CDC

Oh, gosh. And here I thought the only time I should be afraid of chicken was when the Cafeteria Nazi serves it on her menu.

15 comments:

Susan said...

Good to know. Thanks Josie.
I always feel sorry for those poor chickens. The last day of their life and it is spent in what must be absolute terror!
I blogged about slightly larger birds today!
Does that make us bird brains?

Leslie: said...

Yuck!

Bobbie said...

Hmmmm....I wonder how much that study cost!

We drive in traffic every day, inhaling exhaust fumes. Has anyone ever studied that?

Firefly said...

!?!?!?!?!?!?!. I can see these guys driving behind a truck load of chickens going: "We wonder if we will get sick or not." The farmers must have though they were some idiot chicken stalkers.

the walking man said...

Fry mine and let me worry over that. I read this and could only wonder if the research team was shopping for more grant money.

Russell said...

Interesting... though I will say that often studies that seem to be a bit silly or beyond trivial will many times be the first step towards great advancements in knowledge. For example, the space program has yielded a high number of incredible inventions and developments - though it was criticized by many people.

I was looking up information for a post and came across the name of M. Cary Thomas - the woman years ago who raised over $500,000 to encourage John Hopkins to admit women as students (where this study was done). She was also a leader in the women's suffrage movement and President of Bryn Mawr College for many years.

The artist John Singer Sargent did a portrait of Ms. Thomas and considered it one of his best and favorite.

How did I get into all this?? Heh! Oh well...

Take care.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Gee, hate to say it, Josie,
But the Medical-Industrial complex has got us by the lights.

First the anti-smoking lobby, using junk science to destroy Canada's major agriculturalproduct....It's all the non smokers who have the lung cancer now. And breast cancer...I don't want to even go there. Probably from exahaust fumes, for sure. Diesel will do that. And the way we live, toxic food, toxic air, toxic household products.
And now new evidence that untreated breast cancer sometimes goes away all by itself. Change of doctors? Change of locale?

Lazy editors will print any goofy study.
I sometimes think humans in North America are guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical companies....Just read the list of side effects.
We are fodder.
While the scietists sneak a smoke.

xup said...

You mean fibromyalgia is not a real disease?

Country Girl said...

Wow. Good to know. Yuk!

Cedar said...

I grew up on a farm and we had hundreds of chickens at a time and except for molting every spring I seem not to be effected...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Cedar.

Oh, that was almost fowl.
Clang!
:)

Jo said...

Susan, oh, gosh, yes, pigs and cattle too, I suppose. Nice to see you again!

Leslie, I agree.

Bobbie, I KNOW! Go figure!

Firefly, *heh, heh*. Chicken stalkers. Now, that is just weird!

Mark, oh, yes... And yes, I like my chicken fried too. Yum.

Russell, it's funny how the dots seem to connect from one topic to another, isn't it? You made perfect sense!

Ivan, I know. I don't even want to think about what toxic chemicals we are surrounded with. Plastic, anyone?

XUP, well, I guess it is to the scam artists who want to go on long-term disability. :-)

CountryGirl, who knew, hey?

Cedar, you molt? You're lucky! I would love to molt a bit every spring, just in time for bathing suit season. :-)

Ivan, ta-da...!

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