Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Onion inadvertently parodies Honolulu’s potential plague

by Larry Geller

According to recently discovered journals, the 14th century's rat-feces-smeared men of science were at a total loss to explain how the Black Death was able to spread so quickly across Europe.

Thus begins what could be a parody of the Hawaii Department of Health reaction to the revelation that rats reign supreme after dark in Hawaii’s Chinatown.

The above opens a story in The Onion, Rat-Shit-Covered Physicians Baffled By Spread Of Black Plague.

As the rat story fades from the nightly news, shouldn’t we ask, “where is the fix?” Is it ok that the rats have won? (No rats were harmed in making the videos. No rats were harmed by the Department of Health, either. A human won the Honolulu Marathon, but rats are winning this rat race.)

Does anyone from the Department of Health still shop in Honolulu’s Chinatown?

The Onion is pretty clear on the consequences of inaction:

The people of our hamlet were once plentyfull," physician Guillaume Faicheur of Marseilles wrote on Oct. 23, 1348. "As plentyfull as the droves of rodents that scurry about our streets and homes.

Is Hawaii’s health really just a budgetary issue?

When dams were not inspected, we paid the consequence—people were killed when heavy rains came. Due to the Governor’s budget cuts, an inadequate system of inspections will soon deteriorate further. If one day the rats do contract some deadly disease and pass it on to humans, the DOH’s inaction could also become deadly.

Alerts The presence of an established disease vector in Honolulu also increases the vulnerability to bioterrorism. All it would take is one infected rat dropped off after dark to start another plague. The mechanism for spreading a disease is ready and waiting.

In fact, we don’t know how many people contract disease from contaminated food at present, and we can’t predict what the future might hold as the rodent population increases.

Where is the announcement of an eradication program to deal with this?


Keep up the good work, Larry. There are no historical indications that the city, county, or state gov. has had the correct priorities.Health and welfare of the people should be first, shouldn't it?

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