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Bill Gates: In this museum you might be scared and disgusted. But… go! Watch video


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Bill Gates wants you to visit: “What steals the show is the biggest movie in the world. In 1986, this parasite the length of a garden hose was discovered living in the small intestine of a Japanese man.”

What can even scare you, it is better to visit it on an empty stomach and o Bill Gates wants you to visit it? The reason for it Meguro Parasitological Museum (Meguro) of Tokyo. The American tycoon and founder of Microsoft tells his impressions:

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“Welcome to the weird, creepy and endlessly fascinating exhibits at the world’s premier parasite museum. Of course, you may need to skip lunch – and possibly avoid sushi for dinner – when you visit. At the quirky and endlessly fascinating Meguro Museum of Parasitology, which I toured during my trip to Japan in August, you’ll find hundreds of stomach-churning displays of creepy parasite specimens.

“Some of the strangest have taken up residence in the bodies of fish, turtles, pigs and other animals. But by far the most horrific specimens are the parasites that have chosen humans as their hosts. What steals the show is the biggest movie in the world. In 1986, this garden hose-length parasite was discovered living in the small intestine of a Japanese man. He had dined on a piece of raw salmon contaminated with a tapeworm egg smaller than a grain of rice. Over the next three months it grew and grew until it was 29 feet long! (If you’re a follower on my Instagram account, you might have gotten a glimpse of this impressive sample:)

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“The man who removed the tape from this unfortunate patient was Dr. Satoru Kamegai, the founder of the Meguro Museum of Parasitology. A physician, Dr. Kamegai began practicing medicine after World War II. At the time the country’s water and sewage systems were broken and many people throughout Japan suffered from parasitic diseases. Dr. Kamegai became fascinated by the strange world of parasites and began collecting them from his patients. In 1953, he opened a small museum to showcase his findings and raise awareness about these creatures. Dr. Kamegai died in 2002, but the museum continued to operate as a private research and educational facility.

»Today, the museum has a collection of 60,000 different parasites, about 300 of which are on display in the two-story collection. Entrance to the museum is free and attracts a steady stream of visitors. It even has a gift shop with vermin-themed t-shirts, pens and jewelry. (I got a t-shirt with the famous movie on it.) While on a busy trip to Japan, I took the time to stop by this museum because of our foundation’s efforts to reduce the burden of so-called neglected tropical diseases, many of which are caused by from parasites.

»More than 1 billion people suffer from these neglected diseases with often hard-to-pronounce names such as dracunculiasis
Guinea), human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), visceral leishmaniasis (black fever), onchocerciasis (river blindness) and schistosomiasis (snail fever). These diseases can cause anemia and blindness, stunt the growth of children, lead to cognitive impairment, complicate pregnancies and lead to thousands of deaths each year. And it is not uncommon for people living in extreme poverty to suffer from more than one of these diseases at the same time, affecting their ability to go to school or live.

“Our foundation works with partners to treat and control these diseases. One of the most successful efforts has been mass drug administration, which seeks to cure everyone of a disease—even if they are not actually infected or showing symptoms. I witnessed this incredible work in Tanzania, where I joined a group of health workers going door-to-door to distribute medicine to eradicate lymphatic filariasis, one of the most painful and debilitating diseases in the world. The good news is that great progress has been made in reducing parasitic diseases around the world. But there is still more work to be done. This makes this museum a great place for people to learn that these diseases still exist and the incredible work that is going on to eradicate them. If you happen to be in Tokyo, I encourage you to visit.”

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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