Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Disease of the Month Club

Now that AIDS is out of the way (cough, cough, hey buddy, wanna buy a bridge?), it’s time to select the big important disease of the next 15 years, the one to get all the research bucks and to get conservatives all up in arms about the attention being paid to it and the groups it affects most.  So which one will it be…
  • Ebola?  Coming from deepest, darkest Africa, with unknown origins and even unclear methods of transmission, Ebola has all the makings of a panic inducer.  On the other hand, it is largely confined to the Third World at this point.  Can it really be a worry if it isn’t affecting middle class white males in the United States?
  • West Nile Virus?  Malaria redux, and you can get it just by being outside when mosquitoes are out.  Doubly scary because it affect crows, too.  And horses.  And llamas.  And crocodiles.  And…
  • SARS?  The double whammy of having a four-letter acronym (which might change once we learn more, of course; AIDS was originally GRID) and coming out of China, giving an easily identifiable group of people to point at and run from.  May also have jumped the species barrier, akin to some theories on the origin of AIDS.
  • Something else?  It’s seems like a new deadly disease has shown up every couple years for the past decade, so there may be more on the way, things to topple even these three as King of the Hill.

Updated on May 31, 2003

Updated on July 26, 2010
Something else, obviously: H1N1 Bird Flu.  Attack kids.  Comes from Mexico, or Southeast Asia, or somewhere that people have different colored skin.  Perfect.

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