Kimchi Journal

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Kimchi Lifesaver

Finals are finally over and I will be leaving for Korea in two days. I haven't been to Korea in nearly ten years but I still remember the savory foods vendors sell along the streets of Myong Dong Market. My grandmother called me today with some unfortunate news. She informed me about a bird flu called Avian Influenza that has infected poultry across the farms in South Korea. "You need not worry, sweetie," my grandmother said in Korean. Strict measures were taken so that farms would not further spread this disease. Nonetheless, grandmother told me to pack my warm clothes and prepare myself for some good Korean food. I can hardly wait.

December 25, 2003

A kimchi Christmas. I have been eating kimchi like there is no tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I love kimchi. However, I have been eating more than my stomach and breath can handle. Scientists from Seoul National University came out with a study a few days ago stating that a lactic enzyme in kimchi has remedial effects on chicken and other types of poultry. I assume kimchi's "antibacterial powers" have kept my family and I clean from this epidemic. With what I could understand from the Korean news, the bird flu is extremely infectious to organisms such as poultry. I went on the Center for Disease Control website to get a much more comprehendible version of the epidemic. It conveyed that the disease spreads rapidly from bird to bird as large amounts of the virus are secreted in bird droppings, contaminating earthly surroundings. The technical term for the disease is called Avian Influenza A H5N1. The big scare, The World Health Organization admits, is that this strain has the unique capacity to jump the species barrier, causing several diseases in humans. I will not be eating chicken for a while.

January 5, 2004

I am finally back in the States. It is such a relief that we do not have to deal with Avian Influenza here. Although CDC said the risk of H51N flu in the United States is low, I cannot help but think that travelers such as myself could contract the virus and bring it back to infect others. This wouldn't happen to us though.

January 13, 2004

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