This is a pet peeve of mine, and I’d like to set it free on this forum.
I believe that there is a grave epidemiological threat to US residents from the loosening of trade restrictions by NAFTA. We have heard about the hepatitis-tainted strawberries from south of the border. that was real enough.
What we haven’t heard about is another ugly disease, cysticercosis, which is an infestation with the larval form of Taenia solium, the so-called pork tapeworm.
Contrary to what most people believe, cysticercosis does not result from eating undercooked contaminated pork. It results from ingesting T. solium eggs, which typically contaminate vegetables, such as lettuce, that have been fertilized with fecal matter (“night soil”)produced by organisms, such as humans, that serve as the parasite’s primary host.
I have seen dozens, and probably well over 100 patients in the Bay Area with cysticercosis over the past 10 years. Most of these patients have come to my attention because I am a neurologist, and the patients have manifested neurological symptoms, usually seizures, as a result of brain infestations with this nasty worm.
The alarming thing that I have noted is that more and more of these patients have never been to an endemic region (such as Mexico). They presumably got the infection from eating lettuce and other foodstuffs imported from Mexico. Unless you cook your lettuce, you are at risk of getting these nasty little brain worms. Fortunately, there is a treatment. But the disease is pretty disgusting.
Thank you, NAFTA!