Miami Beach Hookworm Scare Leads City To Create World's Fanciest Cat Poop Map

Categories: News
catpoop.jpg
There's a four-foot-tall map hanging inside Miami Beach City Hall, a high-resolution satellite image of an oceanfront slice of town. The grainy brown dunes are speckled with red and green dots that mark points carefully calibrated by a Global Positioning System.

It could be the cartographic reckoning of a crime spree. Or maybe a planned resort.

It's not, though: This is perhaps the world's fanciest GPS rendering of piles of cat shit.

The map is the brainchild of Miami Beach administrators who were spooked enough by TV reports of a hookworm outbreak to take unprecedented measures to track the Beach's feral cats.

Laugh all you want, they say, their efforts are working.

"We needed to identify where the cats are eating -- and where they're pooping -- to address this problem," says Lynn Bernstein, a community outreach coordinator who helped plan the project.

The uproar started in late October when a 7-year-old girl contracted hookworm -- a nasty intestinal parasite that lives in animal feces -- after stepping in cat shit on the beach near 60th Street.

Headlines soon spread around the Interwebs and a half-dozen more cases were identified by the end of November. City leaders worried tourists might start considering South Beach a giant litter box.

So they armed sanitation workers with GPS devices and told them to find the cats. Their data showed, unsurprisingly, that cats like to take dumps in the dunes. The data was uploaded into the mapping system the city usually uses to track utility outages and construction work.

Combined with an outreach effort that's upped the number of stray cats who've been spayed and neutered -- plus a new batch of signs around the beach warning sunbathers to watch out for dung -- health officials say the outbreak has been staunched. Two new cases were verified in December, but those patients were likely infected earlier.

"The city used some innovative technology, and we've worked together on public education to address this issue," says Dr. Samir Elmir of the county health department.

What to do with that stunning cat shit map? Souvenir, anyone?

Here's a PDF of part of the map, for your viewing pleasure:
Cat Poop Map


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Miami Beach 3000 volunteer
Miami Beach 3000 volunteer

On a cold, cold night, a bunch of volunteers from The Cat Network's "Miami Beach 3000" campaign mixed 250 cans of cat food with dewormer to stamp out any possible traces of hookworm in Miami Beach from 40 - 67 street along the beach path especially where the map showed the poo samples. No rest for the weary. We had cats to deworm.

Link to pictures

http://www.facebook.com/album....

Miami Beach 3000 is a multi-year initiative by The Cat Network to fix the estimated 3000 feral cats in Miami Beach.

www.miamibeach3000.com

Donations can be made to: The Cat Network Attention: Miami Beach 3000 P.O. Box 347228 Miami, FL 33234-7228

or online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

Red Sonja
Red Sonja

How long will hookworks live in the soil/sand if it is already infested? Worming prevents future outbreaks but what about the contamination that exists.

People who take care of colonies have acted irresponsibly towards the human race. If you are going to feed cat colonies or stray cats you should also worm them regularly. Hookworms can cause many serious medical issues in humans and livestock, including blindness.

Miguel Lopez
Miguel Lopez

So, where is the photo of this fancy map?

Tim Elfrink
Tim Elfrink

Ask and you shall recieve, Miguel Lopez. (That's only part of the map, but it's the best I could do with a PDF.)

Miguel Lopez
Miguel Lopez

Thank you Tim, I was having problems visualizing all that shit.You earned a digg submission!

Tim Elfrink
Tim Elfrink

We live to help our readers visualize shit.

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