Thursday, June 30, 2005

I Carry Designer Viruses

Nearing what I trust is the end of a long convalescence, my immune system has been busy producing B-cell lymphocytes which are presumably developing antibodies to combat what remains of the infection. The virus, though symptomatically similar to Epstein-Barr virus (“mono”) and cytomegalovirus (CMV), remains unidentified despite several blood tests, the last of which I had this morning.

Upon arriving at work, I spoke with a doctor affiliated with the National Institute of Health, who became quite interested when I described my situation. Apparently, he had just returned from a weekly medical seminar and the topic of the week had been a strange, “mono”-like virus that doctors have yet to figure out. The lecture focused on a woman from Cape Cod who became so sick, once infected, that she was forced to resort to steroids to prevent further throat swelling and to regain energy. My symptoms and liver counts fit the bill for this “new” virus, and the doctor I spoke with is very excited about the possibility of “another” case study.

Knowing that the virus I'm host to might very well be a “new” one, I've been reading reports of the coming virus bloom more closely. Many epidemiologists predict that this century will see an increase in serious viral pandemics and this article in The Guardian focuses on one such virologist, Albert Osterhaus. Osterhaus is most concerned with flu epidemics and he, like Dr. Robert Glasser (“We Are Not Immune,” Harper’s Magazine), reminds us that our focus on bioterrorism is misguided. “[The money spent combating bio-terrorism threats is] fine, but we should not forget that the main bio-terrorist is nature herself. Flu is knocking on the door. It is only a matter of time.”

Dr. Glasser puts it even more dramatically.
“Bioterrorism is a remote threat and a massive attack is very unlikely, but it captures the imagination of weak-minded politicians and a populace raised on movies starring Bruce Willis. The truly imminent biological threat, which all public-health experts agree will inevitably strike, is an influenza pandemic.”
Be forewarned….and Gesundheit!


Jewbacca said...

Stay away from those Chinatown boys HH!!

Hungry Hyaena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hungry Hyaena said...

Well, that comment officially gives away your identity, Jewbacca. I suspected as much already, but the "Chinatown boys" clears the list of all but your name.

Happy to see that you're popping from time to time. Try to put a little more effort into the comments, though. Calling me a "homo" repeatedly is pretty silly.

Devo said...

Man, that's some scary shit. Between the comments of Dr. Glasser regarding weak-minded politicians (which we must remember are elected by an equally weak-minded electorate), the popularity of "comedians" like Larry the Cable Guy, and personal acquaintances who "don't believe in pollution" I am beginning to sway more and more in favor of benevolent dictatorship rather than the increasingly mediocre mediocracy currently in place. Democracy is nice and all, but people are just so damn STUPID!!!

By the way, you read correctly. I actually know somebody who doesn't believe that pollution is a problem. I didn't know it was still POSSIBLE to be one hundred percent ecologically illiterate and at the same time have no desire whatsoever to learn.

Hungry Hyaena said...

LOL! "I don't believe in pollution" is one of the most absurd statements anyone could make in this day and age. If I thought "benevolent dictatorship" were actually possible, I would be a proponent, too.