Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: House Oozes Honey, Irish Cheese and Flesh-Eating Bacteria Alert

A Honey of a House: Homeowner Describes Honey 'Horror'

kcra - A Roseville, CA homeowner is frustrated after bees infested his house, causing honey to drip from the walls.

“It just looked like another horror movie,” Alan Steadd said.

The sticky nightmare started in July when bees began swarming Steadd’s home, coming out of the oven vent and into his kitchen.

“When they are in the house, it’s even scarier because how are you supposed to get them out?” asked Alyssa Steadd, Steadd’s daughter.

Steadd called an exterminator, but days ago the problem came back. Steadd tried to clean out the affected space. Inside of a vent, he found layer after layer of honey combs.

KCRA 3 called Dennis Candler, a home inspector with United Professional Real Estate Inspectors, to determine if the problem is the result of a building error.

“This ducting should have gone all the way through the wall to the exterior,” Candler said.

Candler explained that in Steadd’s case, the problem is the builder’s responsibility to fix.

Steadd said he called the builder, D.R. Horton, which he said refused to help because the home's 10-year warranty expired one month ago.

KCRA 3 also called D.R. Horton late Wednesday afternoon. The company did not return calls.

Fixing the problem will be pricey. Candler said Steadd will have to clean out the entire ducting or, in a worse case scenario, replace it.

Meanwhile, Steadd has a new concern.

“We are really worried about ants now smelling the honey and now having an ant infestation soon,” he said.

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Flesh-eating disease alert for Calgary's homeless

cbc - Calgary homeless shelters are being told to be on the lookout for anyone with symptoms of flesh-eating disease after two cases surfaced.

Over the past two weeks, four homeless people have arrived in emergency rooms with Group A streptococcus infections. Two of those cases developed into necrotizing fasciitis — more commonly known as flesh-eating disease. The patients range in age from 18 to 55.

They weren't associated with any one shelter, so that's why all shelters are being asked to tell their clients to seek immediate medical attention if they're suffering fever, muscle aches, vomiting or severe pain in any one area.

The communicable disease unit of Alberta Health Services has prepared bulletins for homeless shelters to post, which includes information on preventative measures like hand washing and not sharing items that have been in other people's mouths.

Group A streptococcus is easily transmitted from person to person.

Flesh-eating disease is a rare bacterial infection that can destroy muscles, skin and tissue and is spread only through direct contact.

The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates there are between 90 and 200 cases of necrotizing fasciitis per year in Canada, with as many as 30 per cent of those cases resulting in death.

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Let them eat cheese: Irish government hands out block of cheddar to every family

telegraph - Brendan Smith, the agriculture minister, announced yesterday that the government would use European Union funding to buy 53 tonnes of fresh Irish cheddar and distribute it for free from 15 November.

But Irish citizens responded angrily to the plan, which was likened to the "Let them eat cake" comment by Marie Antoinette that provoked the French revolution.

The cheese will be distributed via collection centres in towns and cities across Ireland. Mr Smith said the plan was "an important means of contributing towards the well-being of the most deprived citizens in the [EU] community".

He added: "I am very conscious that many people find themselves in difficult circumstances at present and I want to commend the work of the many charitable organisations who are working on the front line to bring what comfort and relief they can."

But the initiative was immediately attacked by the opposition Fine Gael party, who called it "an insult" to the country, which is suffering the worst financial crisis in its history.

The idea was met with fury when it was aired on the country's biggest radio phone-in show yesterday.

One caller to RTÉ's Joe Duffy phone-in said: "The fact that Marie Antoinette said 'let them eat cake' was the beginning of the revolution – is that what they want?"

Another caller said: "Have they taken leave of their senses? It's not cheese that people who have lost their jobs that people are worried about, it's about how they're going to tell their children or grandchildren that Santa has very little money.

"What are they going to tell their children and grandchildren: that Santa has cheese instead?"

The initiative is funded by the EU's food aid programme, which has been running since 1987 in reaction to a particularly cold winter.

One angry Dubliner last night. "This is just crackers. The scheme is full of holes. This is the last straw - it's really grated on the whole community."

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The curious case of shrinking genitalia

mid-day - Several labourers living in a work camp near Aarey Colony in Goregaon have been spending sleepless nights since Saturday after they found that the size of their genitals have been gradually reducing and getting inside the lower abdomen (Koro: see box). The panicked sit in a bathtub and family members pour water on them to cure them.

The relatives of the afflicted told MiD DAY that the workers have been suffering from Koro since Saturday. Govind Rai, a recent victim of Koro, said, "On Sunday night I experienced extreme heat emanating from my body.

My genitalia were retracting and I was really worried. Later, on my friends' advice, I jumped into a tub of iced water and sat there for three to four hours."

Rai added that the treatment worked and he was cured of the deadly disease by yesterday evening. Further investigations revealed that at least 25 people were suffering from the same ailment.

"We all are from Orissa, Bengal, Kolkata, but I have noticed that men from Orissa and Bengal are suffering the most," said Rai.

The construction site manager said, "We called the doctor last night but he, too, was unaware of the reason for the ailment."

One of the victims of Koro said, "I am shivering because of the cold and the heat that is emanating from my body. But, I will sit in the water only. I am unaware why I am suffering from this disorder. My relatives in Assam guided me on the disease and now I am feeling better."

Police officials from Aarey Colony came to the labour camp around 1 am and started questioning the labourers. They also took down the statements of the victims and other camp workers.

Inspector Girish Ahvankar said, "We will record the statement of the victims. However, this is not a police case."

Initial enquiry ruled out infection to be the cause of the epidemic, as no chemicals or detergents were present at the site.

A representative from the PR agency that looks after the publicity of the builder for whom the labourers work, said, "We were not aware that the workers were suffering from such an ailment.

A doctor was sent and we will look into the matter."

What is Koro?

Koro is a mental condition in which men become obsessed with their genitalia, believing it to be afflicted by shrinkage. Koro is a Malay-Indonesian term meaning turtle's head."

Some believe that it is a culture-specific syndrome. Many a time, Koro or Shook is equated with the Indian dhat syndrome in which men believe that they are passing semen through their urine.

Epidemics

A koro epidemic struck Singapore in October 1967 for about 10 days. Newspapers initially reported that some people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with anti-swine-flu vaccine.

Rumours relating eating pork and Koro spread after a further report of an inoculated pig dying from penile retraction. The cases reported amounted to 97 at a single hospital unit within one day.

A small-scale epidemic of genital shrinking was reported in West African nations.

Victims in the African outbreaks often interpreted the experience as genital theft, accusing some one with whom they had contact of 'stealing' the organ and the spiritual essence.