Relax. The water is fine.

Hypochondriacs and Munchausen’s Syndrome sufferers across Cape Town were yesterday distressed to learn that the drinking water in the city remains of excellent quality and was therefore not to blame for their imaginary symptoms.

“It’s going to be so difficult to find something else to whine about. The tie in between the water running out and that mild tummy ache I had for about 20 minutes last Wednesday was just so obvious,” said occasional mild tummy ache sufferer Genevieve Snowflake of Constantia.

Her views were echoed by other local overly-dramatic attention seekers:
“I did two poos yesterday, whereas I usually only do one poo each day. The second one was pretty small, but still, it’s out of character for me and I was convinced that it was all down to the Ebola in the tap water,” delicate gastrofairy Abraham Muller of Sea Point told us.
“Now I find that it was probably nothing, and I’ll probably have to go back to work again tomorrow.”

City Spokesperson Priya Unready stated: “Rightfully, much has been made of the Cape Town water crisis, but just because we only have 3½ months of water left, doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly going to stop treating the stuff coming through your taps. Aside from our legal responsibility to makes sure that the drinking water in the city is safe, why would we want to make everyone sick? That doesn’t come close to making any sense, and frankly, you’d have to be extremely stupid to believe it.”

But extremely stupid people remained unconvinced:

“It’s a plot by the Zionist leaders to kill us all via imaginary enteritis!” said weak-coloned Parklands resident Alarmed Dyomfana.
“Tony Ehrenreich told me that they all have shares in the bottled water companies and that’s how they’re going to take over the world.”

The City released this media statement:

With declining dam levels, water quality enquiries from members of the public are naturally increasing. We would like to assure residents that the water remains safe to drink. Water quality is closely monitored via a large number of water samples analysed according to the stringent South African National Standards (SANS 241:2015) requirements.

which also contained the subtext:

Oh. My. Actual. God.
I really cannot believe we have to write this down for you. Honestly, how absolutely, utterly f****** brainless do you have to be to think that we’d just randomly switch off all the water treatment works and leave you drinking what would be essentially muddy rainwater and baboon piss which had been stored for a few weeks in a big sandpit near Grabouw?
Jesus. I’ve got a Diploma in Public Relations from CPUT. I deserve so much better than having to write this crap. Morons.

Ian Ailing, the chairman of the Western Cape Hypochondriac Association was too unwell to meet with us in person, but briefly spoke to us from his sickbed:
“The City should have told us this before. We’re always on the lookout for things to blame our make-believe maladies on. Now they’ve made us all look even more silly. But look, if it wasn’t the water, then it must have been the vol-au-vents at Cynthia’s garden party on Saturday. I’m sorry. I have to go now. Literally.”

Donor Everything

Oh dear, we’re heading “down there” – again.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen that I tweeted about this last night after I saw it via a doctor friend on Facebook. Well, because my lab flooded overnight and I have no time to do anything at all today, it is going to serve as today’s blog post, especially for those that… er… didn’t see it last night.

From the New England Journal of Medicine, I give you: Donor Poo!

We randomly assigned patients to receive one of three therapies: an initial vancomycin regimen (500 mg orally four times per day for 4 days), followed by bowel lavage and subsequent infusion of a solution of donor feces through a nasoduodenal tube; a standard vancomycin regimen (500 mg orally four times per day for 14 days); or a standard vancomycin regimen with bowel lavage. The primary end point was the resolution of diarrhea associated with C. difficile infection without relapse after 10 weeks.

Putting that into English for you, they found some patients with diarrhoea and split them into three groups. The first lot got antibiotics, the second lot got antibiotics and a bowel wash and the ever-so-lucky third lot got antibiotics, a bowel wash and then some “healthy” poo squirted into their bowels via a tube in their nose.

Yes. You read that last bit correctly. But why would you do that?

Infusion of feces from healthy donors has been reported as an effective treatment for recurrent C. difficile infection in more than 300 patients.

Indeed, because it assists in restoring the “good bacteria” in the gut. So why isn’t this done more often?

Experience with this procedure is limited by a lack of randomized trials supporting its efficacy and the unappealing nature of the treatment.

No sh… er… no kidding.

And here’s how it was done:

Feces were collected by the donor on the day of infusion and immediately transported to the hospital. Feces were diluted with 500 ml of sterile saline (0.9%). This solution was stirred, and the supernatant strained and poured in a sterile bottle. Within 6 hours after collection of feces by the donor, the solution was infused through a nasoduodenal tube (2 to 3 minutes per 50 ml). The tube was removed 30 minutes after the infusion, and patients were monitored for 2 hours.

#OverlyHonestMethods, right there. Seriously, what twisted individual thought that up?
Far, far more than I needed to know. Or maybe just enough for you to try it at home. Which I am clearly advising you not to do.

But hey – here’s the really important bit – it worked!

Overall, donor feces cured 15 of 16 patients (94%). Resolution of infection occurred in 4 of 13 patients (31%) in the vancomycin-alone group and in 3 of 13 patients (23%) in the group receiving vancomycin with bowel lavage.

Isn’t science brilliant?