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Re: Kids/Babies in Kruger NP info.

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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:51 am

Hi Gavin

Children as young as that should never go to a malaria area in a risk period!! It is as simple as that, in my opinion.
At 5 months of age, the little one's immune system is not yet fully developed, so if they are unlucky enough to contract malaria, the progression of the disease is very rapid, and they can die within a day or two! Furthermore, it is not always easy to suspect malaria in such a young child - remember they cannot tell you they are ill, and they often pick up fevers at that stage of development, what with colds and flus and, of course, teething!
Moreover, remember that your baby is too young to take conventional antimalarial medications, so that adds more risk.

Personally, if I had a 5-month old, I would make alternative arrangements and not put the child at risk. Your suggestion, however, of day trips - thereby overnighting in a non-malarial area - is about your only proper option (if you cannot find someone to babysit, or don't trust anyone enough to do that), and is feasible. However, remember that you would have to drive quite a way to get to Kruger from the non-malarial areas (consult a malarial-risk areas map in SA), and then make sure you leave the malarial areas before dusk and enter them after the sun has risen. In that case, there is always the tiny chance that an infected mossie remains in your car, but this is often a very small risk.

Depending on when you are going to Kruger, I would also be concerned about the heat: a child's temperature can spike quickly around 5-months of age and the additional ambient heat could complicate matters. Also, the child may cry the entire time he/she is uncomfortable. Then there is the risk of sunburn.

There are other factors that can be taken into account, but, as I said at the beginning, unless you can guarantee being in the malarial area during the day only, and avoiding other complicating factors, it is best not to take your child with.


Disclaimer: My recommendations here - though based on some experience and some drug, and other, knowledge - are not absolute, and further consultation with suitable health-care professionals is suggested before a final decision is taken on whether to enter a malarial area, what prophylaxis to use, and any general factors and limitations that need to be taken into account. Furthermore, I only advise based on what information is given by the person(s) entering the malarial area, but I have no control on the information given to me, and so such information could possibly be incomplete or misleading. Moreover, people vary subjectively as to how they metabolise, and react to, drugs and other substances, which further accentuates that my suggestions here are only general suggestions, and therefore not to be taken as pertaining to every person alike.
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby Hippotragus » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:09 pm

gavinp - why not use this as an opportunity to visit another National Park that is NOT in a malaria area?

I see you live in Johannesburg, so you can easily get to Marakele, Mokala or Golden Gate.

I would especially recommend Mokala - the accommodation is fantastic, the staff exceptional and there is a good restaurant if you do not feel like doing your own thing for every meal. The animals are interesting and there are quite a few birds you will not see in KNP or Johannesburg, as Mokala lies in the West of the country.

It is a bit further to drive than KNP, but the trip is well-worth it.

Save KNP for when the little one is a bit older.
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Re: Infants in the park

Unread postby CuriousCanadian » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:05 am

In ALL cases it is recommended to go on your DOCTOR'S advice......
Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.

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Re: Infants in the park

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:47 am

kite wrote:Could the moderators request forum members not to give medical advice based on their personal experiences if they are not qualified to do so.

I think it is more important that members realise this is the internet and should keep in mind that all over the net wrong info and advice is posted. The ultimate responsibility of what action they take lies with the reader.
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Re: Infants in the park

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:12 am

Please note what we wrote:

What you should always do
This is just a little guide, most people can just take simple precautions, but not every body is the same, so visit your doctor and ask his/her advice! Especially pregnant woman should do so, your baby is at risk!
Also keep in mind that children under 5 kilos can not take antimalarials, so the only protection they have is mosquito repellant soaps and spray... And if they are somewhat heavier the side effects listed at the end of this post are not really pleasant...

That you can find here, along with more information.
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby esto » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:27 am

I think everybody should awnser fore themself on this one.My son is now 7 mounths old was in kruger three times.Yes there is a risk factor but that is were every parent must decide is it worth it or not.Is the risk low ore high and do you feel save to take your kid there if the awnser is yes go.If no then dont.It is that simple
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:28 am

Hi everybody

Just had a wonderful time in Kruger - the best 4-days trip I've ever had!! TR to follow ...
:D :D :D :dance: :dance: :dance: :whistle: :whistle: :whistle: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :cam: :cam: :cam:

And, guess what, I'm taking malaria prophylaxis!! And so is my daughter and my SO!

Let me tell you that I have just read through all the posts on this thread and I've both shook my head and smiled. Shook my head because I realise that some of the things are ignorance and that the state of malarial understanding in South Africa seems to need some serious educational boost. Smiled because I realised that, until I had had the good fortune to study malaria and come across, first hand, people who contracted the disease, I myself had had a similar cavalier attitude!! :redface: :redface: I had thought I knew it all, yet I was wrong.

One of the forum mites has a signature that states essentially that, if you are blessed with something, it is your responsibility to share it with others. Some may argue vehemently against what I say here, but I will say what I need to anyway! For, if anything I say about malaria helps anyone, or even saves a life, I will feel that I have done my duty.

Of course, it doesn't mean that absolutely everything I say is cast in stone - there is nobody on earth that knows it all - but I have had enough experience and professional knowledge (been involved in a malarial hotline for over two years and written articles) for me to suggest that people at least consider some of the things I impart. If you don't want to, nobody's forcing you. I feel that my understanding of malaria has helped me and my family over the years, and I trust it will help yours too. :pray: :pray:

For the following comments - and from a medicolegal standpoint - you understand that my disclaimer is important, so that some tannie or oom somewhere who misunderstood what I wrote doesn't sue the pants off me :wink:


Disclaimer: My recommendations here - though based on some experience and some drug, and other, knowledge - are not absolute, and further consultation with suitable health-care professionals is suggested before a final decision is taken on whether to enter a malarial area, what prophylaxis to use, and any general factors and limitations that need to be taken into account. Furthermore, I only advise based on what information is given by the person(s) entering the malarial area, but I have no control on the information given to me, and so such information could possibly be incomplete or misleading. Moreover, people vary subjectively as to how they metabolise, and react to, drugs and other substances, which further accentuates that my suggestions here are only general suggestions, and therefore not to be taken as pertaining to every person alike.
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:44 am

BushFairy wrote:My dad works in Zim and Mozam and then visits KNP often, these are obviously all Malaria areas. He doesn't take malaria prophylaxis, but carry's the treatment with him as he spends weeks out in the bush without healthcare facilities nearby. - it would be silly, and unhealthy to take pills everyday. However, when my mom, sister or I go and visit him, or spend holidays in Moz or KNP we always take prophylaxis. My dad has contracted Malaria 4 times in the past 15 years, and when he gets it he feels (and looks) like death!

It's quite simple really, you can compare malaria to car accidents if you want to, but then you should look at it like this:
When you get into your car do you a) put on your seatbelt; b) strap your child in a car seat to keep him/her safe; c) make sure that the tyre pressure is correct to prevent a possible blowout; d) make sure that your car has airbags; e) not speed; f) not overtake on a blindrise? - THEN YOU ARE TAKING PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT THAT ONE IN A MILLION ACCIDENT DOES NOT HAPPEN.

If you can do the same with Malaria, especially if you have not been to a Malaria area before, then why not just do it?? Taking pills may be uncomfortable (like wearing a seatbelt), but it could save your life? A child whose immune system is not fully developed is most at risk to getting Malaria, why not go to a Malaria free area (it's like not strapping your child into a carseat and leaving him/her to drift around on the backseat when you could strap him/her in, stop worrying and still have awesome sightings)

Just my 2c worth, but obviously everyone opinions will differ - until you've had Malaria that is! :wink:


Beautifully stated BF!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Great analogy too between car accidents and malaria!

Several parts of Zimbabwe and all of Mozambique are HIGH-RISK for malaria all year round. Some parts of Zimbabwe and some parts of South Africa are seasonal risk. Some parts of Zimbabwe and most of South Africa are considered not to be malarial risk areas (although there may be rare cases of contracted malaria in these regions).

Many people never contract a single bout of malaria in their lives - despite having been to malarial risk areas for donkey's years - but that doesn't mean that no one will ever contract the disease!! Some are lucky, some are not. It's that simple.

I agree entirely, BF, that it is prudent and responsible to take whatever precautionary malarial measures are necessary based on the risk of contracting malaria in a specific area and season. Bully for you, your mom, and your sister for taking antimalarial prophylaxis! :clap:

Prevention (if suitable or appropriate) is always better than cure ... ALWAYS!


He [BF's dad] doesn't take malaria prophylaxis, but carry's the treatment with him as he spends weeks out in the bush without healthcare facilities nearby. - it would be silly, and unhealthy to take pills everyday.


Note that, for many people, the hassle and/or expense of taking malarial prophylaxis for extended periods causes them to decide not to! Your dad has already had malaria 4 times, but seems savvy enough to weigh up the risks of contracting it versus the side-effects, expense, and other factors of taking the prophylaxis.

Despite this, there are indeed people who choose to take long-tern malaria prophylaxis, and who do very well on that! It is really a personal decision and a weighing up of benefits versus non-benefits of doing so. Soem of the drugs do well over many months of prophylactic usage.
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:55 am

ndloti wrote:I am normally the first when in a group in the KNP to be bitten by mosquitoes , I have not taken prophlaxis in the last 20 years (must have been more than 400 nights) - besides at one place in the central district along a dry river course where there is a stagnant water pool from the borehole overflow - where we were advised to take prophylactics as a researcher who was there shortly prior to us had died a few weeks later after returning overseas - though perhaps the medical knowledge was lacking overseas ?



Understand that the risk in Kruger, compared to tropical areas of the world - especially Africa - is relatively low, and that the largest majority of visitors to Kruger have never contracted malaria! Therefore, most of the people on this forum will tell me that they have been going for decades and have never had malaria.

This does not mean, however, that someone, somewhere will not be unlucky in contracting the disease. If we delve deeper, there will be several mites who will testify that they know of people - family, extended family, colleagues, etc. - who have been unfortunate enough to have had malaria. Some of these people will also have died of malaria, for whatever reasons!

My SO had a family member who, having been to Kruger virtually six times every year for forty-odd years, and never ever took any malaria prophylaxis, sadly passed away after not getting treatment in time for the disease!

Then there was the case of the renowned retired Kuger National Park head game ranger, conservationist, and author, Bruce Bryden, who tragically died in May 2009 after contracting malaria on a fishing trip in Mozambique. Despite continually spraying himself with mosquito repellents, he was bitten and, though he later complained of flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital, it was too late and he succumbed to the deadly disease!


Ndloti wrote:I have not taken prophlaxis in the last 20 years ... besides at one place in the central district along a dry river course where there is a stagnant water pool from the borehole overflow - where we were advised to take prophylactics as a researcher who was there shortly prior to us had died a few weeks later after returning overseas - though perhaps the medical knowledge was lacking overseas ?


Though bodies of water obviously are where the mosquitoes like to frequent, one can still get bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito in drier areas. Hence, all of Kruger is considered a seasonal malarial-risk area, and it is not appropriate to only take antimalarial prophylaxis because you are around areas where there are obvious bodies of water - waterholes, dams, pools, etc.

I don't know the details of the dead researcher that you mention, but many countries overseas that are free of malaria may not be sufficiently experienced to detect the disease promptly, or to initiate sufficient treatment timeously. Additionally, overseas people may delay by thinking it is only a flu or cold they have contracted, as the initial symptoms to malaria are similar.
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Toddler safety at picnic areas

Unread postby winnydpu » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:28 pm

I am in the early stages of planning my third trip to your beautiful country and Kruger.
The big change this time is that I would be bringing my wife and (then) 2 year old daughter!
I know it will be a different kind of trip, and that I will keep drives shorter, and keep her busy in the car.

Most of my research focus is on the important safety issues like malaria (trip planned for mid-September for that reason) and road safety.
I would like to hear people's thoughts on the more dramatic but far less likely problems of bringing a snack-sized child to the park.

I would never let her out of arms reach in a picnic spot, and I would not want her playing on the lawn/dirt in the camps when monkeys or baboons are around.
Check for snakes, etc before letting her run around in camp.

Any other advice from the forumites about this sort of concern?

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Re: Toddler safety at picnic areas

Unread postby DinkyBird » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:53 pm

And do not leave her alone in a car with the windows open for a second. If she is eating something and you run to the loo and leave her in the car, she will be a target for monkeys and baboons.

I see so many little children in the park, all very happy and playing around, so as Sprocky said, you have the right approach - to be aware and watchful all the time, and I am sure taking your little one to the park will be a great adventure for you all.
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Re: Toddler safety at picnic areas

Unread postby Bushcraft » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:35 pm

Don't let your child wander around with a piece of food because he/she will certainly attract the attention of the scavengers
Agreed, my 4 year old was chased around Tshokwane by a monkey, because she was walking around with a piece of bread.

Otherwise perfectly safe. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:57 pm

There will always be differing opinions as long as people are on this planet. That is a person's prerogative. However, decisions always have consequences - some benign, some more dire. Malaria is something where, if you are unlucky enough to contract the disease, and are unable to get appropriate treatment quickly enough, there is a good chance that death could be the end consequence.

My purpose here is to simply give people options, and to hopefully convey the more sensible ones; readers then understand that if they choose the more risky options, there may be a serious consequence. There may be, and there may not be. Some are lucky, some are not.

My suggestion is, if one can avoid putting oneself in harm's way, why not do so?!
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:00 am

Son godin wrote:Hi Gavinp,

I agree with Onewithnature that the risk is too high to take a baby to a malaria area.

The Kruger might not be that high risk malaria area, but what is the chance of a baby to fight the disease and survive. Most of malaria deaths are children under 5 years. See quote below from Redcross Malaria Day

"Malaria remains a killer disease with nearly 1 million people losing their lives every year. Eighty five per cent of deaths are children under 5 years of age".

My son is now 11 years old and we decided rather to visit other parks until he was 6 year old. Maybe we were over protective but rather save than sorry. Our friends on the other hand took their daughter, when she was 2 year old, to Mozambique in mid summer and she did not get any malaria. They visited the area frequently after building their own hut near Bilene and the children for the past 7 years never got malaria. Some are lucky and others not.


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

A wise soul is a live soul!

Many people do take children to malarial areas, but I never took mine until she was 8 years old. Malaria is more difficult to initially establish in younger children, especially as they seldom can tell you exactly how they're feeling, and many people may think it is simply a flu or cold. Furthermore, the disease often progresses at a more rapid rate in young children, making early diagnosis and treatment all the more urgent!

If you do choose to take your young children into a malaria area, please ensure that they take antimalarial prophylaxis (if suitable for their age and condition), diligently use antimalarial nets and appropriate sprays and other non-drug antimalarial preventions! Know that the responsibility lies with you if you take your children into the malarial area.

After entering the malarial area, if the child (or anyone else from the malarial area!) develops flu-like symptoms (especially chills, fever, sweats, headache, fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting), immediately seek to have a malarial test and seek medical assistance! Even if it is several months after entering the malarial area, don't take any chances: do the test if in any doubt at all.

BE SMART, BE WISE, STAY ALIVE !!!


Disclaimer: My recommendations here - though based on some experience and some drug, and other, knowledge - are not absolute, and further consultation with suitable health-care professionals is suggested before a final decision is taken on whether to enter a malarial area, what prophylaxis to use, and any general factors and limitations that need to be taken into account. Furthermore, I only advise based on what information is given by the person(s) entering the malarial area, but I have no control on the information given to me, and so such information could possibly be incomplete or misleading. Moreover, people vary subjectively as to how they metabolise, and react to, drugs and other substances, which further accentuates that my suggestions here are only general suggestions, and therefore not to be taken as pertaining to every person alike.
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Re: Are we being stupid ?

Unread postby onewithnature » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:35 am

renervr wrote:Sory but I'm going to step on some toe's :pray:
As both my wife and I being medical specialists we must then have been seriously ignorant and dof regarding risks. My son [20yrs] had his first visit at 16 days old for 2 weeks and my daughter[17yrs ] had her first visit at3 months old and ever since visiting at least 5-8 times a year.Nobody ever used malaria tablets and good old Tabard Peacefull sleep and in the rooms mozie mats protected us for all these years.
I stand amazed at all the old wife tails and urban legends!?
With a bit of lateral thinking you ask the qeustion how many thousands if not hundreds of thousand babies live in the eastern areas with the mozies and the heat!Yes there are many malaria cases but once again the studies tell the storie that in 98% of cases not a single type of precaution used!
In 21yrs of practice [x2 including my wife's practice] I had one malaria case from Kenya
referred to me because I do high risk obstetric manegment.At least once a month we hear of a fatal incident of one of our patients be it motor accident [99.9%] robbery etc



Many people are indeed ignorant, or sometimes unwise and insufficiently cautious (which usually stems from ignorance!) about the risks of malaria - and this traverses the entire range of people, from professionals to non-professionals, foreigners to locals, adults to teenagers, those in the know and those not! I've come across all types of people who prefer not to use antimalarial drug prophylaxis (known as chemoprophylaxis) for various reasons. Often, it is indeed not having sufficient knowledge about malaria, how to prevent it, the risks involved, how to suspect and diagnose it, and how to treat it. These people can then be sufficiently educated, whereupon their approach to malarial prevention (and, if necessary,

However - and this is what often amazes me - there are many people who know that malaria can kill - are sufficiently educated - yet they almost disdainfully ignore the risks!! :huh: Many, I believe, walk with that age-old fallacy: it will not happen to me! Poppycock!!

EVERYBODY WHO ENTERS A MALARIAL AREA IS AT RISK OF CONTRACTING MALARIA!!!

Sure, people have different responses to the disease - for instance, some have partial immunity and develop milder symptoms (but that is only partial immunity and does not guarantee them safety from death at the hands of this tragic killer!), some are immunocompromised (lowered immune system) and face higher risks (including young children and babies, those on chemotherapy, etc.), and some do not get infected with the most lethal and common strain, P. falciparum, but P. vivax, P. malariae, or P. ovale. Some people are even lucky enough not to get bitten by a single mosquito during their stay, and different people are bitten more than others in general.
However, everybody is at risk of contracting malaria when entering malarial area, and that is an important point to keep in mind. You may think you are protected because of your religious beliefs, or family history of no-one ever having contracted malaria, or whatever, but the bottom line is that malaria is still a rife killer in the world, and especially in children 5-years and younger! It is not about bravado, but caution and wisdom, that is essential!

Renervr, I understand that you and your wife, from a clinical perspective, have not seen cases of malaria (bar one referred) in over 40 combined years of practice. You are fortunate, but your two medical practices by no means determine the statistics of your province, let alone South Africa or the world! As medical professionals, you must know that malaria is lethal and that millions of people die from it annually! Lateral thinking does not even enter into the equations, as the only thing that must be of concern to all people is the tragic loss of life - the statistics - due to malarial infection. Many people who die of the disease are indigent and in remote areas of Africa, and so have little or no access to medical prophylaxis and/or treatment when they do get the disease! Relatively affluent people mostly do not live in high malaria risk areas, have access to knowledge and information, and can obtain treatment for the disease if needed! I have no idea where your practices are (were), but there seems little doubt that they were not in high-risk malarial areas and that you did not see many indigent, or poor, people who have come from high-risk areas.

You don't specify which malarial areas you took your infants to, but it is well to remember certain points pertaining thereto: there are low risk areas, there are high risk areas, and there are very high risk areas; many seasonal risk areas in South Africa had a lower incidence of (reported) malaria cases twenty or more years ago, and recent evidence suggests that the amount of people contracting malaria in seasonal risk areas in Southern Africa (e.g. Kruger) has increased of late - therefore, higher risk now than then; and, if anyone of you (especially the children) had been unlucky enough to contract malaria, your attitudes towards the disease would almost definitely have been different.

One final, and very important, point that needs to be made, and which is unequivocal, Renervr: you have declared yourselves to be medical professionals - specialists at that; remember that people then will look up to you as authorities on medical conditions and their treatments.

I stand amazed at all the old wife tails and urban legends!?

Not quite sure what you mean by this? :huh: If you're saying that you "stand amazed at all the old wife tails (sic) and urban legends!?" because malaria is not a serious disease, then this would have no founding in research and fact! Many people contract malaria and/or die from the disease because their knowledge base is insufficient or they choose to be irresponsible in the face of the risks. This is no exaggeration either as millions of people do die from a combination of insufficient information, insufficient knowledge, insufficient caution, insufficient awareness, insufficient diagnosis, and insufficient treatment!

With a bit of lateral thinking you ask the qeustion how many thousands if not hundreds of thousand babies live in the eastern areas with the mozies and the heat!Yes there are many malaria cases but once again the studies tell the storie that in 98% of cases not a single type of precaution used!

I'm not sure what areas you are referring to when you say the "eastern areas"? :huh: If you are talking about the eastern areas of South Africa, then yes, there is a relatively low risk of anyone, including babies, contracting malaria - relative to high risk areas like Mozambique or tropical Africa! Still, these facts mean that babies and adults alike nevertheless do get malaria - which may be increasing in infection-frequency and fatalities - and this does not warrant suggesting that the disease is not as serious as it is known to be! Every exposure to a mosquito in a malarial area is a potential risk of contracting malaria - for everybody!

Please do not make unfounded statements unless you have researched the topic sufficiently! Opinions are one thing, and personal clinical "evidence" another. However, malaria is not about opinions, but facts, and people's awareness of the serious, and often fatal, consequences of the disease must not be diluted by inaccurate observations and insufficient research and clinical evidence!



Disclaimer: My recommendations here - though based on some experience and some drug, and other, knowledge - are not absolute, and further consultation with suitable health-care professionals is suggested before a final decision is taken on whether to enter a malarial area, what prophylaxis to use, and any general factors and limitations that need to be taken into account. Furthermore, I only advise based on what information is given by the person(s) entering the malarial area, but I have no control on the information given to me, and so such information could possibly be incomplete or misleading. Moreover, people vary subjectively as to how they metabolise, and react to, drugs and other substances, which further accentuates that my suggestions here are only general suggestions, and therefore not to be taken as pertaining to every person alike.
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