Wednesday, 30 April 2014

"...all their Predictions run upon a most dreadful Plague..."

 Randall Flagg by Mike Perkins
The coming pandemic....

As 'they' keep saying, it's not a matter of if but when. Remember Stephen King's, The Stand? I read it decades ago and loved it but you know what really blew my little mind? Not the whole battle of good vs evil, always interesting of course, but what really threw my 20 year old self was Captain Trips -- the fictional flu virus that wipes out most of the world's population.

So even now, when there's another health scare like Avian Flu, SARS or H1N1, I can't help think, "Here it comes...our world's Captain Trips."

And so we come to MERS. What is MERS? It's the latest potential pandemic currently on everyone's watch list. It's been on my google alerts list for months now. And apparently, in the last two weeks, the number of new cases now equals or surpasses the number for the previous two years. Why the jump in numbers? Well, initially the virus was thought to be contracted from animals (camels and/or bats) but some think the virus has now mutated to pass more easily from human to human. But I read this recently and that may not be the case. Regardless, the number of countries that MERS is showing up in is rising.

[UPDATE May 16: CDC "What you need to know..."]

Why am I so interested? Well, not only because I live right next door to Saudi Arabia -- the epicenter -- but we're not planning on leaving here this summer. And with Ramadan approaching (late June) the numbers of pilgrims to Saudi skyrockets. And some of those pilgrims will be returning here.

On a positive note they've recently identified antibodies that can be used against MERs.

But I've seen the horsemen....

Magnetic Man 'Getting Nowhere' from PHOTOPLAY FILMS on Vimeo.

- Public Health Agency of Canada
CDC Travel Advisory
MERS and politics