Meningitis Outbreak: 5 Things More Likely To Kill You Today [VIDEO]
A meningitis outbreak linked to tainted pharmaceutical steroids has now spread to 14 states. According to the CDC, 205 confirmed cases of this uncommon strain of fungal meningitis have occurred and, of those, 15 have resulted in deaths. As the Internet hits the panic button on meningititus, I think it's helpful to keep some perspective in mind. The University of New Hampshire Health Services reports that there are about 1,400 - 3,000 cases of meningitis each year (in all its forms; viral, fungal and bacterial) and of those, about 150-300 deaths occur in the U.S. annually. That means that the average American citizen has, at worst, a 1 in 1 million chance of dying from a meningitis outbreak this year. So, while you enjoy a sigh of relief now that you know you are statistically quite safe from a meningitis outbreak death, here are a list of ten things that are far more likely to kill you today.
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1. Your Commute
Going to work really, really sucks. I know this, because like you, I have to work. Getting out of bed and dragging my ass down to the subway and packing in with all the other sleepy-eyed, unwashed commuters for an uncomfortable stink-and-sweat filled ride into Manhattan is the lowlight of my day. Along the way, I cross a number of streets full of other commuters in their cars zipping to and fro. And that little bit of pedestrian/vehicle interaction is, statistically speaking, the most dangerous point of my day. Yours too. There are about 34,000 motor vehicle deaths each year making it the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Around 5,000 pedestrians are struck by cars every year. And none of those cars are driven by a meningitis outbreak.
2. Your Dinner
Ok, so you manage to avoid being mangled on the asphalt as you cross the street or drive down it and now you're home and ready for dinner. You're watching Maury and eating a meningitis-free potpie and you let out a cheer for the guy who beat a paternity test when *whoops* wrong hole. Your trachea is blocked and you can't breathe and your last image before losing consciousness is of the "I beat the paternity test" dance.
See, choking kills more than 1,000 people each year. That makes it 8 times deadlier than a meningitis outbreak and about 1,000 times more delicious.
3. Your Medicine
You've survived your commute and your dinner with Maury. And, if you're like 65 percent of Americans, you probably have to take a prescription medication of some kind. And if you do, you're opening yourself up to one of the most common causes of death in the U.S. Some studies have concluded that as many as 100,000 Americans die every year from dangerous side effects to medication prescribed by their doctors. (Or, for example, meningitis in your steroids)These aren't people who took too much, or mixed it with booze for a super-fun time, but followed instructions and believed it would help them.
4. Your Flammable Surroundings
The cars, food and pills don't do you in. Now you're just relaxing in your bed and drift off to a peaceful sleep. Instead of your alarm clock waking you up, you're instead woken by the sound of your ceiling collapsing because your upstairs neighbor passed out with a Marlboro in his hand and set your whole building on fire. And because you haven't checked your smoke detector batteries, like, ever, you didn't know until it was too late that household fires kill more than 3,000 people every year. Approximately 10 times deadlier than any meningitis outbreak.
5. Your Personal Gravity
You sleep, uncharred, through the night and wake up the next morning. You stumble to the steps leading to your kitchen, make a minor misstep and WHAM! You've just found yourself one of the 6,000 Americans who die each year from an in-home fall. Gravity can be a real b-ch. More so than a meningitis outbreak, anyway.
There you have it! Feel better about that pesky little meningitis outbreak now? Don't let the TV and Internet news media scare you into fearing some crazy disease that has virtually no chance of affecting you. Focus instead on the lethal terrors in your everyday life and live every day like it's your last. Because if you use a car, eat, take medicine, sleep or use steps, there's a chance that it could be.
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