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!