Death. Some people fear it. Some people are comfortable with the idea of what comes next. Other people run toward  death screaming take me, take me, take me. That last one usually occurs in an election year.

The thing about death is there are just as many dignified ways to leave the planet as there are stupid ways to go. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta took a look a death across these United States and came up with each state's most distinctive way to die. 

I have to admit I was taken aback by what the CDC suggested for Louisiana. I figured that we'd be one of the states where "discharge of firearms" would be a biggie. It turns out that distinction was reserved for Alabama and Tennessee.

Perhaps our state would be singled out for our obesity, heart disease, or lack of proper nutrition. We were close in those categories but still there was one other distinctive way that people in  Louisiana go to meet their maker.

Because we just have to be different Louisiana is the only state in the union to be recognized by the Centers for Disease Control to have as its most distinctive way of death to be a sexually transmitted disease. Syphilis was named as our state's most distinctive way to die.

How do you get Syphilis? The most common method is physical contact with another individual who has an active sore containing the  bacterium Treponema pallidum. This contact is most likely to happen during a sexual encounter. This is because the sores in question usually occur around the mouth and "private parts" of the human anatomy.

Why do so many people in Louisiana die from a very treatable malady? Embarrassment is a leading cause if we're being honest. Many people who contract the disease don't want to have to disclose to their doctor or their family that they have the disease.

Just to be clear, Syphilis isn't the leading cause of death in our state. It's just our state's most distinctive way to pass on. I don't think it's a distinction that we should be that proud of.



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