June 16th, 2008
03:57 PM ET

PLANET IN PERIL: Battle Lines – Battling Diseases

Battle Lines


Check out these pictures of Anderson on assignment in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Planet In Peril: Battle lines. Anderson and Dr. Sanjay Gupta join a team determined to stop the next deadly virus before it gets out of the jungle...

Filed under: Planet in Peril
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Kaycee California

    Dear Anderson,
    I believe you can do a better job in Africa, we should try and let people see the beautiful side of Africa. I dont believe Africa is all about war, desease and hunger. Africa is not a country, Africa is a continent.
    And there are beautiful countries in Africa to report about. And for your information all those deseases was brought to Africa from europe.
    Pls let people know the true fact, because alot of people rely on you for the truth. It will be disappionting if they get anything less.
    Thank you

    June 17, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  2. Yuddie, NorCal

    Dear Anderson Cooper,

    I am truly disappointed that a seasoned journalist and reporter of your class would make unproven statements as if they were true, thereby, misleading millions of your listeners. I would agree with you that HIV/AIDS disease is prevalent in Africa, however, there is no proof that it originated from Africa.
    It is noteworthy that the continent of Africa has so many beautiful countries like Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Libya but to name a few. We would appreciate a case by case balanced coverage of these countries and not to lump the whole of Africa as a country. We would also like to see the beauty of Africa and not always reports of war, hunger, disease etc
    I see that countries in Asia, Europe, North and South America are covered on individual bases in your program, why not Africa?
    Although I appreciate the job that you are doing, nevertheless, your reports on Africa seem a bit loop-sided. There is a need to report facts by doing a better coverage and research before you go on air.


    June 17, 2008 at 12:53 am |
  3. gary

    Anderson – were you able to find out why the African Green Monkey was only attracted to gay males and IV drug users?

    June 17, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  4. Diane N.

    Utterly astounding piece. Nothing but good can come out this search for the causes of and finding cures for viruses old and new. The more that can be taught and learned the better. There are people doing the leg work to find these cures and I only appreciate the fact that Anderson is walking with them. Being part of this process and reporting it back wholeheartedly to us.

    June 17, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  5. espy

    I watched the piece on 360 about the DRC. I am a nurse, and I was very disapointed to hear the connection that Anderson made about the transmition of HIV from animals to humans. First of all, HIV dies a few minutes after it's been exposed to air. Second of all, the last time I checked HIV is transmited through bodily fluids such as, blood and semen. I personally do not remember being tought that one could become infected with HIV by ingesting food contaminated with HIV. Even if that is the case,Being a native of that region,I know for a fact that most people in that part of the world do not eat rare meat. If anything, we cook our meat to death because to most of us eating or serving rare meat is sacrilage.So next time Anderson thinks of reporting medical facts,he should "page Dr Gupta" first.

    June 17, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  6. EJ (USA)

    To the poster EJ…I am so happy that there are true journalists still out there like Anderson Cooper that are bringing attention to these stories...

    Yes – I agree that Anderson is a great reporter.

    June 17, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  7. Jolene

    I will reserve my comments about this topic after I watch PIP2 in the Fall and see the whole report. Until then, I will enjoy the pics, sneak peeks, reporter's notebooks and take them for what they were meant to do. Entice us into wanting to watch the program!

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    June 17, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  8. EJ (USA)

    I do agree with you about Anderson and the crew putting themselves in danger. It was disturbing to say the least to see Anderson walking around that hospital without gloves or a mask, especially because these viruses are not yet fully understood. I did notice he and Sanjay wearing masks in the photos. However, journalists do take risks, whether it is in a war zone like Afghanistan or Iraq, or in a disaster area like NOLA or recently Iowa.

    My beef with that is – I don't think they are just walking about without having received all the vaccinations they possibly could receive and also whatever other medications. My question was – would they ever tell us the preparations..(or just let us believe they are in extreme risk)

    And ok – I do also wonder if they did get these preparations – tell us the story behind why the residents cannot get these preparations & precautions too. Or if only a few did, the reason why more residents can't (the government, poor funding, lack of resources-hospitals-medication, logistics, etc etc)

    If the 360 crew truly are at the same risk as the rest of people living there in Cameroon and Congo (at least for the time they will be there) that would be unbelievalbe. I just can't see it because they come right back to the CNN studios... so there must be some way to assure that they are ok.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  9. EJ (USA)

    Besides bringing attention to the problems of these people, we don’t know that Anderson and the crew are not helping them in some other ways. Sometimes charitable people would rather not advertise their generosity. 360 has often posted links where people can send donations. Please try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Hi JoAnn – I am not passing judgment. I just want to know the bigger story. We only hear a small part of it. I have no doubt Anderson personally gives to many organizations but I was talking about something different. I was talking about issues specifically related to his reporting – his gig for 360.

    I also know Anderson gets tons of compliments (including from me) so I know he and the 360 team don't mind some probing questions.

    What happens when the cameras are off, when he's on the plane, when the kids ask the Americans/foreigners for help and there's only so much they can do to comfort them. And I did truly want to know if they ever felt guilty – It's a common human emotion so I just wondered. I would feel guilty – not that it would be rational – but I would feel very guilty.

    Is there anything more that he & 360 'explorers' can bring back to us – that maybe will make a bigger difference. If that makes any sense. Not just telling us to go to "cnn.com/impact" – something bigger than that.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  10. Kaycee California

    Dear Anderson,
    I want to clear certain statements which you have made on TV that are untrue. One, HIV did not start from Africa.If you want to know HIV was originated and spread by homosexuals in America. Men sleeping and making out with animals. Yes, Ebola disease was first noticed in Congo region but that does not now mean that all bad deseases originate from Africa. And why is it that all pictures are in black and white. So you couldnt buy any coloured film in Congo or Cameroun. I find it funny, just like I know you stay in the Hilton Hotel while in Africa but hardly show any pictures of the fine Hotels or streets or people that you meet.But only show Africa in very negative pictures.
    We all know that the europeans brought syphilis and other deseases to Africa in the early 19th and 20th century. But we have not made noise about this. So pls try and report on the positive things happenning in Africa. And dont forget to put the records straight, most of these deseases were brought to Africa from Europe.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  11. Thomas, SoCal

    I admire your willingness to go to these difficult places in the world. Impressive photos and yet so heart rending...of course as reporters you focus on a story and report on that...and yet, I would also like to see the other sides of this continent covered too...Africa is not only about disease and starvation...it is also the overwhelming compassion and fierceness that stands up and so bravely faces each day.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  12. L. Olson

    Wonder pictures and videos, but I wish someone could bring birth control education to these people, since they don't have enough food to feed their families.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  13. Piedaterre

    Everybody is excited about this but I wonder what's it's really all about ........ Publicity or Altuism, Buruli has been around forever, please stop exploiting Africa under the guise of PIP. Ha ! Which world in peril, Please concentrate on your own very mixed up continent.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  14. Jay


    I was siting back tonight taking TV for granted.
    and very board and disappointed with the whole
    experience Then I changed the channel
    and ,suddenly, without explanation
    I realized I was watching some of the most important
    and well written journalism I have ever seen in
    my life

    keep it Up


    June 16, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  15. Joseph

    We Americans are so foolish to believe the negative portrayal of a beautiful continent like Africa from the western media. These guys go to the most underdeveloped places in Africa and then stereotype an entire race with their negative images. This ia a shame!!! People in Africa go to work, schools, hospitals, drive beautiful cars etc. People eat western foods in Africa, play video games and watch televisions. Africa is gradually being developed economically and materially. On the other hand, America is also full of Aids, STDS, poverty, racism, illiteracy etc. No where is perfect. I routinely visit Africa and to see it being portray in such a negative faction, is racism. I am an American and I am sad.

    June 16, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  16. EJ (USA)

    What vaccinations did Anderson, Sanjay, & team have to get before walking through those jungles in Africa? What other precautions did they have to take?

    June 16, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  17. Marianne Sheedy

    Anderson, The photo's and your texts are beautiful, engaging, haunting. Thank you for excellent reporting. Marianne

    June 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  18. Mimi, NY

    Just heard the amazing narration with these pictures. It was really touching. Thanks for taking us into the depths of the Africa.

    June 16, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  19. Joseph

    hello everyone. I am a daily viewer of AC 360 and love his program very much. However, I am very dissappointed in how Anderson and other western politicians like to portray Africa. Africa is not a country but a continent. Africa is not full of diseases, forests, gorillas etc. Anderson recently said that HIVs and Aids originated from Africa. That is a flat lie from the western media. The idea of Aids originating from Africa is not true but a scenario among many. Check for the origin of Aids at WiKipedia and you will be educated. I am an American who goes to Africa routinely and it is a naturally beautiful place. People go to work there, they go to school, church, ride good cars and have paved roads. The mainstream media here in the west likes to portray Africans in demeaning and inhumane ways to stop westerners from investing in Africa. Even google is not the best area to see pictures of Africa. As Americans, we ought to search for our own information instead of relying on the media. Africa is a vibrant place. There are many positive developments going on in Africa that the western media refused to report. This is just a shame!!! Treat others like humans.

    June 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Carey

    To the poster EJ...I am so happy that there are true journalists still out there like Anderson Cooper that are bringing attention to these stories. It is unfortunate that it takes the breathtaking photographic talents of someone like Jeff Hutchens along with the work of Sanjay and Anderson to bring these stories to light. It will be a great day when there aren't so many "more pictures & stories from somewhere else the next week. " Kudos to Jeff, Sanjay, and Anderson for making me take a pause in my day to consider these people and their plight. Special kudos to Jeff, who is brilliant at telling the story without having to say a word.

    June 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  21. kay, Huntsville, AL

    When I saw the picture of this lady the first thing I thought was some kind of pox before I read possible Monkey Pox. How much time is being invested to teach people how to prevent catching diseases such as this? Prevention is the key! My Dad always insisted on not eating or drinking after anyone else. He also insisted on meat being well done. In his case I said, " Well burnt". He was very clean and as far as I can remember only missed a few days out of thirty years of work. He may have also had a great immune system though because he did'nt ruin it with a lot of processed meat and ate a lot of vegetables especially tomatoes, garlic,peppers, and onions. Education is very important and could prevent a lot of diseases.

    June 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  22. Mechelle-- Oklahoma

    The pics are AMAZING! They capture the immediacy of the situation and they put a face to it as well. I am glad they are in black and white. I don't think they would have as much impact in color. You guys please be safe. Take care. Thanks for all the information. I think we sometimes forget how lucky we are.

    June 16, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  23. Annie Kate

    What wonderful pictures. Thank you for posting them. I'm looking forward to seeing more and to PIP 2 this fall.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 16, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  24. Jo Ann

    Leke, Your concerns are valid ones, but remember that the series is called “Battlelines” so you are going to see war, disease, and famine.

    EJ, I can appreciate what you are saying, but I think we should wait until we see the entire program before passing judgment.

    These types of photos have been around for a long time. Back in the 1930s Dorothea Lange’s photos of the Depression shocked many people into recognizing the plight of the poor. I am sure that Jeff intended some of these photos to be disturbing in that same way. Your reaction was probably what he was hoping for when he took them.

    I do agree with you about Anderson and the crew putting themselves in danger. It was disturbing to say the least to see Anderson walking around that hospital without gloves or a mask, especially because these viruses are not yet fully understood. I did notice he and Sanjay wearing masks in the photos. However, journalists do take risks, whether it is in a war zone like Afghanistan or Iraq, or in a disaster area like NOLA or recently Iowa. I am also sure that covering these types of stories is stressful to all involved. I hope that they have help dealing with it.

    Besides bringing attention to the problems of these people, we don’t know that Anderson and the crew are not helping them in some other ways. Sometimes charitable people would rather not advertise their generosity. 360 has often posted links where people can send donations. Please try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    June 16, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  25. Ratna, New York, NY

    Anderson, I am speechless!

    I recent the fact that you'll walk away with an award for this -not to put guilt on you – but these African people will be thouroughly scrutinized and the rest of the world will be stigmatized against them.

    Have you ever filled out an essay questionaire when you tried to donate blood at the blood bank (US)? It asks you in so many different ways whether one has had unprotected or if any sex with people from African descent specified from which region of Africa. Rediculous!

    Despite the fact that I've learned of these virus pandemic origins, I care more of the humane aspect of this matter. How does this relate to global matters anyway?


    June 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  26. Michelle Fischer- Lafayette IN


    There are many things I like about you as a reporter, your compassion, honesty, desire to give others a voice & many other things! These pictures do just that, give people who are sometimes overlooked, and in some peoples' eyes held as valueless, Dignity.

    These glimpes' into other people's lives, struggles & hardships makes you really reflect on what you have, and cherish those things, and the things you complain about ,are nothing ,when you compare it to the courage & determination it takes to rise above the challanges Africans face everyday!

    Thank you! Great Job!
    Can't wait 4 PIP :2
    360 Fan

    June 16, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  27. Dawn T.-Pittsburgh/Monroeville, PA

    I'm excited about PIP2. Keep sending the amazing pics. Thanks for caring and shedding light on this issue.

    Be encouraged and stay safe.

    June 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  28. Tiffany Heath(Michelle)

    Hello Anderson
    These pictures are breathtaking and tragic. Africa is the cradle of civilization and you did a good job on this story. Its also interesting to see people's reactions to the on-going issues that the people of Africa face every second of the day.

    June 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  29. Taylor

    Really really great pictures. cant wait to see the stories. They capture the emotions of all the people in them. Africa needs all the help they can get to aid in fighting these diseases.
    Anderson and Sanjay, this entire series has opened up my eyes to a lot...Great work...

    June 16, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  30. Genevieve M, TX

    PIP Crew,

    Please be careful and don't get yourselves sick from any of those exotic ailments you all are talking about. Also, please don't bring any of them back "home".

    June 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm |
  31. Shanny

    Kind of a wacky caption for the great photo of Sanjay Gupta riding on the motorcycle. Probably could have come up with something different. I have a hard time believing he's thinking, "YA! Wicked! I just saw the greatest case of monkeypox."

    June 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm |
  32. EJ (USA)

    How do you visit all those places without feeling guilty when you leave? You visit, you see all the hardship & disease or terror & destruction, and then you leave. Well, don't you try to measure what sort of impact is being made – with your reporting (or with the researcher's progress or with anything)? If you don't do something or some type of follow up – then isn't it just like going around the world viewing people's misery and then returning back to LA or New York or wherever?

    I know its your job to report the story and try to bring the story to the viewers, but don't you ever want to do more than that? How can you be happy viewing other people's misery? That cannot be fulfilling Anderson.

    People -especially Americans- seem to forget very quickly... so how do you not only get people to remember but find more help/resources for the people in whatever area you are visiting?

    I'm sure you've already thought about all this, but we never get to hear about that. I want to know about more than pictures & stories and then more pictures & stories from somewhere else the next week. Why don't you pick 10 totally depressed, rampant disease, miserable, war torn places – and then focus on helping people there and return – year after year after year – and make sure progress is being made. I know you do some returns here and there but I want to see the whole picture.

    Your fame gives you much more ability to do that than us viewers – You can make people pay attention. You can make people do almost anything.

    June 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  33. Maureen T

    The black and white pictures are breathtaking and tell a story, that's for sure. We in the Western Society don't know how lucky we are!...I cannot wait to see the program tonight! Take care of yourselves Andy and Sanjay, and stay safe...Miss you Andy!

    June 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  34. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Again, amazing and sobering at once. And again, I look forward to hearing about this (maybe finally more than a tease?). How sad for these people and potentially frightening when one considers potential implications if the next HIV or worse is lurking out there. This is one of the most important stories you've covered as far as I'm concerned.

    June 16, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  35. Rekha Raman


    Leke, I appreciate your point of view. But I think you've forgotten about the mystical gorillas and their gentle beauty, which is a signature of Africa.

    And the disease issue is an important crux of the globe, which cannot be ignored and sidelined to be brushed under the carpet.
    After all didn't AIDS take origin in Africa. The prevention and quarantining of these zoonotic diseases from the African jungle need to be portrayed worldwide. This is directly or indirectly a man-made disaster, unlike forces of the natural elements like the tornadoes and typhoons and cyclones and the tsunamis. The spread of these diseases to man can be prevented IF there is the verve and determination and collective effort on our part to do so. Journalism is not about walking on the red carpet. To those who are really interested it can make a true difference in the long run. Hopefully not too long...

    None of us would want to be afflicted by these zoonotic diseases. And unless this catches world-wide attention Leke, probably you and I would blissfully be unaware of the importance of Africa.

    Yes! Africa may be mostly about famine, wars and disease but thanks to our journalists, if it weren't for them and their dedication we wouldn't be able to appreciate the soul of the gorillas. It is up to the well-developed nations(despite their own problems) to look out for critical continents like Africa.


    June 16, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  36. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    Wow, amazing pictures and also very sad.

    The baby in #4 is the hardest for me to view...I feel so bad for her being so little.

    The children peering through the structure to see camera is so optimistic, hope and curious.

    It is so sad that they have to eat that nasty stuff. Some agricultural place needs to be set up for them.

    #21 is a great pic of Anderson.

    And I like Dr. Guptah's look on the back of the bike....Weeee.

    June 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  37. Carlotta,Italy

    I found the portrait of the 3 years old girl (n.4)...the eyes....
    It is so important to report stories from Africa, thanks to all, especially to the scientist and doctors for their incredible job.
    Ciao Carlotta

    June 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  38. Elsa, Canada

    Dear Anderson,

    Thank you for sending us this reportage from Africa. I would also like to thank Jeff for his amazing photography. It opened my eyes that not only terrible things are happening around the world such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes but there's also a deadly diseases from the jungle coming up but hopefully, it'll stop. The planet Earth is going really upside down...

    Please, do take excessive care until you are out of there. I know that you are working very hard but everybody missed you and we can't wait to see you back home safely. I'm looking forward to see your report tonight! I LOVE YOU!

    June 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm |
  39. Kathy

    Great pictures but they break my heart.

    Sure doesn't take much to make you realize how truly blessed we are to be living here. Even if the price of gas sky rockets at least we don't have to hunt to feed ourselves where the risk of disease is so great.

    As bad as any day that I have seems, it is nothing compared with the lives of these people.

    Thanks Anderson and Sanjay.

    Please be EXTRA careful there and stay safe.

    June 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  40. Paula, Colorado

    Hi! Happy Monday. The new photo collection you've posted is beautiful. Though you are dealing with negative and serious subject matter in all your work, Africa seems like a natural setting for this form of black and white photography. I look forward to your program later.

    June 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  41. Leke

    Is that all Africa is about? Disease, War, and Famine? What if the US was portrayed as a violent, misogynist country? Africa is just a continent try and differenciate other countries that are well developed that doesnt portray Africa as diseased poor ruins.

    June 16, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  42. Rekha Raman

    Dear Anderson,

    Thank you for sending us this reportage from Africa. Thanks especially to Jeff Hutchens for his wonderful photography without which these wouldn't have been possible. His photographs are very soulful and in this group of pictures he has shown us the grim sides as well as the lighter moments of your travels in Africa. Thank you for your talents Jeff.
    I am glad Anderson and his team are taking great precautions by wearing gloves and masks as needed. Please do take excessive care till you are out of there. I hope Dr. Nathan has a lot of assistance for his good work and something great can actually come out of this endeavor. The people succumbing to these new germs need a leader among them to show the right path out of their strife. Unless the root cause is addressed, the spread of this kind of new calamity is difficult to keep in check. But thanks to AC60, there is hope!
    The monkeypox and the Bureli disease definitely look forboding.
    Anderson- the last picture (21 of 21) looks really good. I love all the other cheery pictures. It makes me take a sigh of relief.
    Looking forward to seeing your report tonight.

    Take care, Rekha

    June 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  43. EJ (USA)

    On the contrary I think many of these photos are sad & disturbing. Are all of the people you are filming receiving some sort of medication or anything that can help them at all?

    Also, many have already asked the obvious question – What have Anderson, Sanjay, and the research team done to prevent themselves from getting those same diseases?

    If you could really do something to prevent getting those diseases, then why can't you give the same thing to the people of Cameroon?

    I'm not saying that you are not helping (as I'm sure this is one of your goals) – but I just would like to know more about that. Its leaves us guessing what is really going on and how much danger/risk you all are in. I personally don't think CNN would send Anderson & Sanjay into an area where they had a high chance of contracting a deadly disease (would they?) You can't really continue to report stories back to us and report about this research if you do get sick or die. So tell us – what precautions you have taken... and if you are the only ones who had access to those precautions.

    June 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  44. Jo Ann

    Dear Jeff,

    This is a great combination of the serious and the light-hearted moments that you are experiencing on your trip.

    As always, I have my favorites. This time I must say that I found the portrait of the woman in Cameroon (6) suffering from monkeypox quite striking. As an artist myself, I know that the mind of an artist can sometimes find beauty in tragedy. You beautifully captured this quiet moment of dignity. I also appreciated the psychology so evident in number sixteen. The creation of art is sometimes accidental, but to recognize it is always deliberate. I love the way the positioning of Dr. Gupta’s hand directs the eye of the viewer to the primary subject of the photo, the woman. I liked your use of negative space in number nineteen; it is a very striking contrast and juxtaposition of figures and object. Lastly, I always enjoy photos of Anderson in seeming repose during these trips. The combination of the setting and the expression on his face gives it a sense of quiet urgency.

    Thanks for sharing these photos with us; I am anxious to see more!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    June 16, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  45. deborah, OH

    Your pics are again outstanding. I third the nomination about a PIP2 photobook.

    And, I see masks being worn in these pics–thank you very much.

    As always, be careful, guys–we want you home safely.
    Thanks, again, Jeff.

    June 16, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  46. Megan Dresslar

    Cool Pictures I have seen!!!!!! I love this pictures of Anderson! I can't wait to buy Planet in Peril 2!!! I am glad Anderson is doing great and stay safe trip with Jeff, Sanjay and Lisa......... I am forward to see him tonight on AC360! 🙂 Thanks for share pictures with me!!! Hope you need more to write your blog to me...... Let me know how are you doing? missed you so much!!!! Please come home.....
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    June 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  47. Delphine, France

    I second Kristien! A PIP2 photobook would be great!

    Thanks for each slideshow!

    June 16, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  48. Renee

    The office votes #14 for sure. We just love the hope and sunshine captured in the little boys eyes!

    Thanks for sharing moderator!

    June 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  49. Cindy

    Very interesting pics. Can't wait to hear the story that goes with them! Maybe we'll get some of that tonight when we get our third report from Anderson. If not guess we'll be waiting until the fall huh? Shucks...LOL


    June 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  50. Kristien,Antwerp, Belgium

    All these pictures are so great!

    I think a PIP2 photobook would be a great idea! (I would buy it!)

    June 16, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
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