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World's Most Dangerous Foods

Crab, Cholera, Latin America

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Crab, Latin America

Threat: Cholera

While cholera is a long shot these days, it’s a good reminder to follow the “Cook it, boil it, peel it, or forget it” rule when it comes to shellfish—with a big emphasis on the cooking part. In the early 1990s, a handful of U.S. travelers picked up cholera from crab they’d bought (and supposedly even cooked) before packing it in their bags to bring home from Latin America (they survived, but perhaps not their luggage). Shrimp, clams, mussels, and oysters can also carry it.

Prognosis: You probably won’t die, even if you feel like you might. It causes, as one source put it, “voluminous” diarrhea. “Cholera doesn’t kill people, but the dehydration does,” says Eric McLaughlin, a Tucson-based travel doctor. “Anytime you ingest water from an unknown source, you run the risk of cholera, and it’s a devastating illness without good medical care.”

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