Last weekend was the Free Weekend for Tom Clancy’s: The Division. It was a game that I was super excited for a long time ago, but something along the way made me change my mind on it and I didn’t purchase it when it released in March 2016. Maybe because it took too long to release.. maybe it was the price tag.. maybe it was this sucker. Either way, after the Free Weekend, I feel like I missed something special, although the salt (internet rage) on the forums would suggest otherwise.

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The premise of the game is about how a mad scientist created an infectious disease, planted them on dollar bills and released them on Black Friday. The infection spread extremely rapidly and thousands/millions of people die. To protect the innocent and to preserve law, the government has a secret Division of highly trained sleeper agents that are activated to retake New York.
When I absorbed the story, it made me think how scary it is because this can be a real thing. Coincidentally, I’ve been tracking one form of infectious disease from these two articles. One is about flour brands and ground meat which were found to be contaminated with E. Coli.

What is it?
– A bacterium typically found in the gut of warm-blooded organisms
– most E. coli strains pose no harm to humans, but 6 groups are known to cause human illness

What causes it?
– ingested contaminated water (remember that article about the pollution and garbage?), contaminated food (under-cooked meat, unpasteurized milk, or raw vegetables), person-to-person contact (use good hand hygiene)

Really? Raw vegetables?
– there can be traces of feces on vegetables, hence the good sense to wash them thoroughly before consumption

Symptoms of E. coli infection:
– abdominal pain (sudden cramps)
– diarrhea
– nausea
– vomiting
– fever & fatigue (anemia)

Ok, so nothing serious, right? Wrong
– can lead to low platelet count which affect blood flow/clotting in the kidney and result in kidney failure
– can also develop brain & spinal cord problems causing seizures, paralysis, brain swelling and coma

What can I do??
– cook meat well, especially ground meat
– drink pasteurized milk, apple juice and ciders
– wash leafy green vegetables (it won’t protect you completely, but it’ll help)
– wash cutlery with warm, soapy water
– wash your hands regularly (warm water and soap), especially after using the toilet, changing diapers, after preparing food and after touching animals (petting zoos)