The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 12, 2012

Mike Pound: Some people make their own bad luck

At the risk of bringing a plague of locusts down on my head, I have to say that I’m not much of a superstitious person. The fact that today is Friday the 13th doesn’t fill me with dread. I figure if something goes wrong today it will likely be my fault and not because the last day of the work week happens to fall on the 13th day of the month.

I know that some people do fear Friday the 13th, but a lot of times those people tend to fear just about anything. Some people remind me of Churchy from the great comic strip “Pogo,” who panicked when he discovered that “Friday the 13th is on Wednesday this month.”

Nope, I tend to think that you make your own luck, and in some cases, your own bad luck.

There was a story Thursday in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that made me think of people making their own bad luck. According to the story, nine people in recent years have been treated in St. Louis hospitals for a rare lung parasite. The parasite, which causes a rare disease called paragonimiasis, was described in a recent study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I suppose you could say coming down with a rare disease such as paragonimiasis would be an example of bad luck. And, I guess it would, but for the fact the people contracted paragonimiasis by eating raw crawfish while floating and camping near Missouri streams and rivers. If you have ever spent any time at all in our area waterways you probably have seen crayfish, which are also called crawdads. They look like miniature lobsters and hang around river banks.

According to the study, seven of the nine people who ate raw crayfish had been — drum roll please — drinking alcohol.

Dr. Gary Weil, an infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and one of the authors of the study, summed up what happen when he told the Post-Dispatch that, “There’s Mardi Gras behavior sometimes on the rivers.”

Many years ago my Uncle Jim and I made the mistake of trying to canoe on the Niangua River on a Saturday. Ever since that day we have opted to float during the middle of the week. I don’t want to say that people tend to get a little crazy on the river. I want to say that they get unbelievably crazy on the river.

The best way to describe what eventually happens to folks who eat a raw crayfish carrying the parasite that causes paragonimiasis is to refer you to the movie “Alien.” The Post-Dispatch described in detail how the crayfish parasite makes its way into the lungs of people. But I’m thinking some of you might be eating breakfast while you are reading this so I’ll let you sort of picture the process yourself.

The good news is that the symptoms that accompany paragonimiasis eventually go away. The bad news is that it takes five to 10 years. The other good news is that, when properly diagnosed, paragonimiasis is fairly easy to treat. The bad news is that paragonimiasis is pretty tough to diagnose.

All of the people who ate raw crayfish and got sick eventually recovered after treatment in various St. Louis hospitals.

I bet none of them will ever eat lobster.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter