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Brainiac

A few regrets after a cruise gone wrong

Man in Hawaiian shirt, holding a suitcase with travel stickers (stickers are my own, cheesy designs). Clipping path included
iStock/Jim Jurica

When a British couple went on a Caribbean cruise, they didn’t expect to come back with their rear ends infested by parasitic worms. Nor did they expect to see pictures of their backsides plastered over British newsstands. But tabloids in the United Kingdom picked up on the story from a medical journal that published a case report on the infections. The couple contacted the journal, BMJ Case Reports, and said they were concerned that their family and close friends could identify them. The publication denied liability in the matter but last month retracted the article, which was titled “Cutaneous larva migrans with pulmonary involvement.”

The move marks the second time in less than a year that the BMJ, the publisher of Case Reports and many other medical titles, has retracted papers for privacy concerns. Last July, it pulled a 15-year-old movie review about people who believe they’re Jesus after one of the subjects profiled in the film complained, citing Europe’s strict “right to be forgotten” law governing the internet. In the case of the beachgoers, we can see why everyone involved would like to put the lid back on this can of worms.

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