Thursday, June 11, 2015
The MERS outbreak that's spread into South Korea has killed at least 10, sickened more than 120, and forced about 2,600 schools to shut down there
The World Health Organization is offering up useful tips for those who wish to avoid contracting the disease. There's one nugget of advice, though, that stands out from the more banal ones, such as washing one's hands and not eating raw meat, and it's a tip that will likely be easy for most of us to follow: Don't drink camel urine. But that recommendation, which is accompanied by a warning to also not indulge in camel milk, isn't as outlandish as it might seem. The CDC, for example, has a category on its MERS information page dedicated solely to "People With Exposure to Camels," noting that while scientists don't yet know for sure how people contract MERS, there have been people in close contact with camels who've come down with the disease. And there is a long tradition in the Middle East dating back to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad of quaffing the excreted liquid for "allegedly palliative properties." Most people who've read one writer's review of drinking camel urine while in Yemen probably won't contract the disease this way, though, as the writer's warning will likely inspire a healthy level of wariness: "The taste of warm piss is, as you would expect, disgusting. But when it's mixed with camel milk, as it traditionally is, it's even worse." And an Indian Hindu group says that it has a cure for some "70 to 80 incurable diseases," but it might not appeal to everyone. The miracle medicine is cow urine — specifically, pee from a virgin female taken before sunrise.