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January 6, 2012 at 1:17 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Ultimate Super Villian

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the A New Itch Blog Series

Last week (or last year depending on how you like to roll) I briefly mentioned the manufacturing of a virus that has the potential to wipe out half the human population, given this weeks outbreak (pun intended) of articles on deaths and further mutations of flu viruses, that brief mention may need to have some more attention paid to it.

Before I start, I would like to mention that I tried super hard to avoid talking about the viruses that have popped up as of late. I say this not to sound lazy, but to reflect on my effort to not become part of the throng of people that freak out when these reports come to the surface. Too often, when someone hears that there is a new strain of the flu, vigorous hand washing ensues, anti-bacterial wipes adorn every touchable surface and clever clippable hand sanitizers are lovingly attached to anything with a loop. Personally, I have never been that big on anything besides washing hands on a regular basis. Bacteria serves a very important purpose as far as our immune system is concerned and we don't do our bodies any favors by not allowing them to battle the harmful little buggers.

This Little Piggy...

Now, to get down to the meat and bones. Two major viruses have taken center stage recently, H3N2 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu).

In the last six months, the CDC reports that 12 cases of a new swine flu have popped up in the US. This new virus has been labeled, H3N2v, with that classy little v standing for "variable." Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are the locations in which the reports originated. Very important people are in a bad way because the flu season is pretty well on its way and the vaccines they have been handing out are only capable of blocking the original swine flu virus, not this variation.

I am sure that most of us remember the "pandemic" that happened in 2009. This pandemic has also thrown a wrench in the vaccination plans, as many people viewed the 2009 happening as a wee bit of an over statement. With this in mind, officials have their reputation to protect at the same time they are trying to protect the population and, as we all know, major organizations that have major ego's always work out well for us...

Out of Sight...

There have been 363 human deaths from 573 confirmed bird flu cases since 2003. The first death since 2010 occurred Saturday in China, where a large percentage of bird flu cases come from. I really don't need to get into any details about the death, as it is pretty much the same thing as every other time H5N1 rears its head, birds are being culled by the thousands, fingers are being pointed and officials are being blamed.

What is truly interesting about this latest run in with a virus that could do some serious damage to the human population, is that humans rarely come into contact with it. The avian flu isn't transferable in the normal means, but usually only by handling/ingesting a bird that tests positive for the virus. With this in mind, researchers have been working on developing a strain of this deadly virus that can be easily transferred among humans.

Why you ask? Well, join the club. Many are asking that same thing. To all those asking, the purpose of creating a virus that could wipe out millions is to prevent that very thing from happening. By understanding the virus, vaccines can be created and patterns of infection can be accurately tracked. The real question has to be, why in the heck would you publicize that you created a virus that could exterminate entire countries? In the age of terror and bio-manufacturing weaponry, why would you let "the baddies" know that you created their next money maker? Scratch your head at that one...

The end all to this melange of virus spectacle is that fearing the flu virus is a rather futile action. The flu virus has existed for millenia, constantly evolving to survive, working past every defense the Earthly population has to offer and out-living those very occupants that try to eradicate it. So, wash your hands, sanitize the crap out of your living space, make sure your immune system is prepared, and show some respect to an old school assassin.

See you next week...


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