How do I become an epidemiological statistic?

Update: “Officials at the state and county level declined to comment on the Cape town that has reported a salmonella case, or the individual who was affected, citing privacy laws. The only detail provided was that the sickened individual is a 49-year-old man from Barnstable County.”

I was sitting at a picnic table near Gay Head Light in the town of Aquinnah, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, when I did the oh-so-romantic move of checking my Blackberry for messages while my poor wife tried to find something endearing about me to behold.

The voice mail icon begged to be acknowledged, so I listened to messages and heard the on-call doctor at my internist’s group tell me the results were in from my lab tests from last week, the ones ordered up after I returned from India with a hellacious case of Montezuma’s Delhi Belly.

I paged the doc and she told me I was positive for salmonella — basic garden variety food poisoning. She also told me I was part of a national epidemic, brought on by the consumption of infected tomatos (mostly Romas, or Italian Plum). When I got home I did the hypochondriac move and googled the bug. I found this newslink (up yours, Associated Press) about the spread of salmonella in Massachusetts.

County – Age – Sex

Middlesex – 33 years – Female
Middlesex – 39 years – Female
Middlesex – 5 years – Female
Middlesex – 29 years – Female
Worcester – 38 years – Male
Plymouth – 23 years – Female
Norfolk – 36 years – Male
Norfolk – 26 years – Female
Norfolk – 18 years – Female
Norfolk – 23 years – Male
Suffolk – 19 years – Male
Suffolk – 20 years – Male

I was disappointed not to see anyone from Barnstable County — and that led me to wonder why there isn’t a social network for people with gastic distress brought upon by tomatos. I want a badge to put on my blog, dammit.

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