Friday, November 7, 2008

Pandemics: Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!

I'm lucky to be here. I might be the only survivor of the many great pandemics that have swept the globe in recent years. These pandemics were, each and every one, meant to wipe out vast numbers of us. I've survived the lot!
"Mad Cow Disease" (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) should have taken me even if John Gummer didn't actually ram a burger into my face. Then I escaped AIDS. Phew. I haven't contracted MRSA or Clostridium difficile and I have dodged the bullets on Lassa Fever, Ebola Virus and anything to do with the nastier forms of E.Coli. I survived Edwina's curried eggs and, by skillfully avoiding birds with a cough, I think I might be clear of Avian Flu.
Ninety years ago, just as the 1914-18 War was closing, "Spanish Flu" ravaged through war-weakened Europe, killing as many as the war itself. It "preferentially" killed young, fit people. The same poor bastards who had done all the fighting in France and Flanders, only this time it killed their wives and girlfriends too. That was a bona fide pandemic.
I know that new diseases frighten the life out of epidemiologists but they do cry "Wolf!" a lot. Just like in the story, a real wolf will arrive one day....

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