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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

The Sick List Grows Longer As More Domainers Struggle With Mysterious Illness 

Yesterday we told you about dozens of domainers being bedridden after falling ill upon return from last week's DOMAINfest Global conference in California. When I wrote that 24 hours ago I personally knew of about 50 attendees who were all suffering from the same symptoms after all become sick with flu-like symptoms at roughly the same time (starting last Sunday). Today the sick list grew by another 50%. At this point, more of my friends have fallen ill than have remained healthy.

Yesterday there were almost three dozen people on the sick list that Nico Zeifang (one of those who fell ill) started on his Facebook page (you need to be one of Nico's Facebook friends to see this page). Tonight that number is up to 55 on Nico's list. I knew of a dozen others who were not listed there and that number is now up to about 20 more. Since only a handful of his people have access to posting on Nico's page I am certain the number of people ill is easily in triple digits, especially since we are hearing only from domainers, not people from the many other sectors represented at the show. 

Anecdotally, some people who have been hard hit reported feeling better today (David Castello among them) while others reported no change and some even felt worse. Many, including my wife Diana, who also fell ill (I did not), also went to their doctors (very important to do if you are not getting better at this stage). In every case I have heard about the doctors prescribed antibiotics which are used to fit bacterial infections rather than the flu virus. 

Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At first most assumed that was a huge flu outbreak but when it became apparent that just about everyone had fallen ill with the same symptoms at the same time (indicating they were exposed to the infection at the same place) a bacterial infection (likely water borne) became the lead suspect. Especially since people who had gotten flu shots still fell ill and only began recovering after getting antibiotics.

Since one likely bacterial candidate - legionella pneumophila - produces the same symptoms as the flu it is impossible to tell what people have without running lab tests and in just about every case, doctors are not going to order those expensive tests unless the patient is seriously ill, with pneumonia for example (so far only one victim has reported having pneumonia).  Instead they will do what they are doing now - prescribe antibiotics if they suspect a bacterial infection is at work, as many doctors have concluded after hearing that so many fell ill in the same place at the same time.

We should be getting a much better picture of where this is headed in the next 24-48 hours. If it is legionella, there are two strains of that bacteria to be aware of. The milder one, known as Pontiac fever, usually runs its course in 2-5 days and will normally die out on its own. So, those who fell ill Sunday, should be at the end of the gauntlet by the end of the day tomorrow (the









Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

same is true if they are battling influenza). The much more dangerous strain creates a form of pneumonia, the infamous Legionnaire's Disease (this Center for Disease Control (CDC) link describes both strains of this bacteria) that requires treatment. We are not seeing any widespread reports of pneumonia like illnesses, so it seems very unlikely we have to worry about that one (still, Legionnaire's is more common than many realize - between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with it each year in the U.S.).

For those who asked if anyone has contacted the CDC about this incident, yes - they have been contacted through their website which advised that, due to a high volume of reports being filed, it takes them several days to follow up on each one. 

In addition to the issue of a bacterial infection, remember that it is also quite possible that some of those reporting in sick have a bad case of garden variety influenza that happened to hit them at he same time as others fell ill from something else - we are in the middle of flu season after all. I received a couple of reports today from people saying their spouse's had caught the illness from them. If you have normal flu that certainly could have happened, but if you have a bacterial infection, that is NOT contagious so no one else is going to get it from you. It is normally contracted by inhaling infected airborne water vapor or mist (which is why many suspect the fog machine in operation at the Playboy Mansion party last Thursday night, though it should be noted, there is no proof of that). 

Whatever the cause, the most important thing right now is for everyone to take the best possible care of themselves (including seeing the doctor if your condition is not improving). I'm hopeful that by this time tomorrow night, reports are flooding in from people who feel like they have turned the corner and are well on their way back to being completely healthy again

(Posted Feb. 9, 2011)  

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