Saturday, January 31, 2009


Have u ever gone to a party and came back otherwise? Food poisoning? Here is why.

Yesterday in honouring an invitation to witness a traditional marriage ceremony betwixt my peers, we travelled the short distance to Batoke, a lovely village in Limbe cropping on the southern fringe of the gulf of Guinea. The event was commonplace with the usual quirks of trend expositions in vestures and stilettos, music, wine, lurking gentlemen, anticipating ladies, celibates, non-celibates, exhilarating nuptial families and patronizing in laws, and most intriguing the banquet.

As would be expected, a fine mixture of Cameroonian and European cuisine, though largely dominated by local staples such as, Koki, a bean pudding whisked in palm oil and steamed in plantain leaves until it gets tender, Ekwang, a porridge meal consisting mainly of cocoyam dough wrapped in cocoyam leaves, gingerly dressed up with smoked fish and beef and stewed in palm oil, and many more I would have considered ok if it weren’t topical for another subject in the stead.

However, there was one meal which called for a lot of solicitation from the crowd. It was the popular gravy meal locally called “Bush Meat.” It consists of a gravy soup and the beef of the now protected animals such as gorilla; (generally, the animals which are very much close to the bush than to settlements), which include apes, other primates, ungulates, rodents and so on. Mindful of the rarity of these animals in the legal market due to conservation protectionism, and their tasty flesh, the meal is exceptionally compelling.

The pieces of Bushmeat are smoked for several days, using certain types of wood. After the smoking they are air-dried for another several days. Although similar to other air-dried procedures, the meat is fermented in addition to the air-drying. High-grade bushmeat is sometimes even covered with a thin layer of mold, giving it distinct aroma.

As I behold the scores of people harvesting from the cauldrons, I couldn’t help but regret the cause and effect chain of animal transmissible diseases.

Our lower brethren have from time immemorial been, our cribs and cogs. Man invented the air planes based on the paradigms of the extraterrestrial animals such as birds, discovered medicinal plants from observing the choices of animals and birds, athletics from monkeys. Man has also used the services of camels and horses for transportation, bulls for ploughing, and even the sheep for vestures. Principally, their fleshes have always provided us with pleasure and good health.

However, this good health has also very often been shortcome by the very flesh of these animals. Bushmeat such as Apes harbour pathogens that can in theory affect humans. Ebola for instance have also been found in chimps and gorillas and bonobos, and have spread to humans by handling the meat and consumption of such great apes. African squirrels (Heliosciurus, Funisciurus) have been implicated as reservoirs of the monkeypox virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their use as bushmeat may be an important means of transmission to humans. Birds recently caused many deaths globally due to the Bird Flu disease.

Also, scores of disease we contract today are being caused by these lower animals. Animal diseases that are naturally communicable to humans are called zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. As long as we are in the immediate environment of animals or untreated animal products, we are at risk of contracting a disease or infection that can be traced to them.

A wide range of health problems may be linked to animals. Some common sources of disease causing organisms or infection include:

eating contaminated milk or meat,

eating foods such as fruits, vegetables and other produce particularly mushrooms that are contaminated with animal waste,

making direct contact with a living animal that causes you an injury or transfers a bacterium, virus, fungus or parasite to you,

handling contaminated materials such as soil and water that have come in contact with animals or animal waste. Even if you work with or walk on soil with unprotected hands or feet or have young children who like playing with soil, it's possible to contact bacteria or parasitic worms from animal waste that could result in disease.

So when I returned home that night though a little inebriated thanks to the cherished Matango drink, a local aphrodisiac brewed from the palm plant, I proceeded to research on the world wide web and discovered the following intriguing facts about zoonostic diseases.

From an article written by Lockie Gary (link) on how we could contract zoonoses, the author said “Openings of the nose, ears and mouth serve as easy points of entry for viruses, bacteria and parasites. This means that air, water, food, soil and direct contact with an animal play a part in assisting disease causing organisms or infectious agents to enter your body. Cuts and scrapes to the skin may provide entry points as well. Your eyes are also vulnerable.

Diseased cattle and swine have had to be destroyed because eating the meat, even when cooked, would have meant the disease causing agent would infect white blood cells in humans. Sheep, mink, mule deer and elk have also been implicated in the transfer of a disease causing agent. In the United States for example it is possible to contract a form of the modern day plague directly or indirectly from squirrels and prairie dogs.”

The Wikipedia on zoonoses (link) gave a partial list of agents that can carry infectious organisms. They include:

Assassin bugs,


Bank voles,



















Rabbits and hares, Raccoons,







These can be listed according to:



helminths (cestodes and trematodes),





The Wikipedia also listed (though the list is inexhaustible) the various kinds of zoonoses. Some include:


Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), Babesiosis,

Barmah Forest virus, Bartonellosis,


Bolivian hemorrhagic fever,


Borrelia (Lyme disease and others),

Borna virus infection,

Bovine tuberculosis,


Chagas disease,

Chlamydophila psittaci,



Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), from bovine spongiform , ncephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease",

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever,


Cutaneous larva migrans Dengue fever,



Escherichia coli O157:H7,

Eastern equine encephalitis virus,

Western equine encephalitis virus,

Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus,


Hendra virus,


Korean hemorrhagic fever,

Kyasanur forest disease,

Lábrea fever,

Lassa fever,




Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus,


Marburg fever,

Mediterranean spotted fever,

Monkey B,

Nipah fever,

Ocular larva migrans,

Omsk hemorrhagic fever,

Ornithosis (psittacosis),

Orf (animal disease),

Oropouche fever,


Puumala virus,


Psittacosis, or "parrot fever",


Rift Valley fever,

Ringworms(Tinea canis),



Streptococcus suis,




Tularemia,or "rabbit fever",

Typhus of Rickettsiae,

Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever,

Visceral larva ,


West Nile virus,

Yellow fever.

Other zoonoses might be:


SARS (possibly; civet cats may spread the disease, or may catch the disease from humans.)

This list is by no means complete. The influenza virus is an interesting example: It continually recombines genes between strains found in humans, swine and avians, producing new strains with changed characteristics, and occasionally, as in 1918, killing millions worldwide.

To continue reading a historical development of Zoonostic diseases, click here.

Karls JBilz.


  1. I know this was a serious post, but once I saw koki, my mouth started watering. That combined with the palm wine reference has convinced me that it is time to call up one of my Cameroonian aunts so they can cook for me.

    Anyway, hope all is well with you.

  2. Hey Solomonsydelle, thks for stopping by.

    It's reminiscing to be kept abreast of such mouth-watering meals especially when they appear exotic overland. Surely one one your Cameroonian aunts wouldn't take so long before they cook you that Koki.

    Stay blessed and accept my kind regards.

  3. Did i write "one one", surely I meant "one of"

  4. its really cool. Its comforting to know awareness is not a dream and even though we stand up in letters only today, it shows conviction to stand up in action someday, bif; take my word i am rethinking on the idea of blogging;; lol manuelz

  5. This post is very informative. Keep up the good work.

  6. @ SHE: Hey, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the tap on the back. Best regards.

    @ Manuelz: Thks for your comment. i encourage you to blog. On my blog, you'll find other blogs I'm following. Maybe that would give you more contagion, what do you think?

  7. This is sounding scary already (lol).

    I cant remember the last time I hate busy meat though but I do take SUYA and I have got 4 cats. Thank God they have got a good vet and I do my best to keep them in good health and me in good health too and hubby well in good health...

    Thanks for sharing this, I am checking out the links to learn more...

  8. Hey StandTall-The Activist, thanks for stopping by.

    I'm impressed you love cats and have more than 3. I also love pets generally and i used to have a dog. When it died, i couldn't support the election of having another one mindful of the regrets i held for the deceased. It was like losing a sibling.

    I was hoping this post wouldn't inhibit our love for them.

    I agree, it is rewarding to implement a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our companions as you rightly say.

    But i'll explain a couple of things that preoccupied me prior to writing this post.

    First, where i live, (in a developing world) many folks who own pets don't indulge in vaccinating them. The reason is obvious. inadequacy in solvency and pet education. As a result, these people are very susceptible to zoonoses. A cat who chases rats in the neighbourhood would bring home agents which cause diseases such as plague for instance. Some even catch viral diseases from other cats in the neighbourhood and expose these to their owners and their owner's children.

    Second, i'm always fearful about vaccines and the potential risks they possess. (fearful but i use them anyway) You know, a vaccine in simple language is the disease itself in its benign state. The shortcoming could be dire. Am sure, you are aware of accidents caused by vaccines all over the world from autism to cancer. Therefore we're always vulnerable in spite of our healthy lifestyles.

    Third, some folks in my country eat cats. Some of these cats do have their own bouts of diseases as humans do. They have cancers and other infectious diseases. Even cooking them doesn't eliminate all agents causing diseases. People eat them as well as other animals oblivious of their health status and become infected in the course.

    Fourth, occasionally we might be transmitted diseases such as pasteurella and tetanus from cat bites or scratches. Below I have referred from a webpage the various diseases transmitted from our cats to us. These are:

    * Viral diseases transmitted by cats are rabies and cowpox, usually through biting or direct contact.

    * Ringworm is a fungus infection affecting the hair, skin, and nails. Humans contract it either by direct contact with the cat or by the spores shed from an infected animal.

    * Cat bites can cause a variety of diseases and infections, including pasteurella and tetanus.

    * Campylobacter enteritis, a disease of the small intestine, can be caused by contact with contaminated cat feces.

    * Cat scratch fever is an infection caused by a bacterial agent transmitted to the human via a cat scratch.

    * Conjunctivitis in humans can be caused by contact with the nasal and ocular discharges of cats infected with feline chlamydiosis.

    * Humans can become infected by Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever when a cat brings home ticks. If the cat becomes infected with plague, it can also infect humans directly.

    * Salmonella organisms, which are shed in discharges from the mouth, eyes, and in the feces, can cause intestinal disease in humans.

    * Toxoplasmosis is transmitted by contact with the feces of an infected cat. Although it is well-known that cats can transmit toxoplasmosis, many do not know that humans are more commonly infected by eating incompletely cooked meat.

    * Other parasites which can be acquired by humans are hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms: usually by direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces, or ingestion of contaminated fleas.


  9. Thanks for taking time out to reply my comment. Sorry too about the lost of your dog.

    My cats do scratch me a lot. Well, I know the disease exist but it's rare and the biting hell yes! I play with them too much and so much... God help me.

    Some folks eat cats in Nigeria too nd you are right about the vaccines itself as well as folks not bothering to try and vaccinate thier pets.

    What I try to do is to keep my cats from being outdoor unless I am there to see them walk around and get back in... in order to avoid them getting bitten by an animal that has got rabbi...

    Your assessment is so useful really... my cats are like having my kids with me really. I hope we can all live diseased free

  10. Thks for ur kind words regarding my late dog.

    I agree with u absolutely on every point you rejoined to my last comments and I also commend you for the prudence you elect in making sure your pets live a healthy and lovely life with you.

    I gather you really are in love with you cats. It is very reminiscing to me. I used to love my dog the same way. I am thinking therefore; maybe I it is time I seek another one.

    Hopefully, we can always live disease-free as long as we maintain that paradigm of sanitation.

    Accept my kind regards and convey same to your spouse and cats.