Ghost children and magic viruses.

I’m beginning to think there’s a plot to overwhelm every sewage system in the Western world. Anything and everything that can scare the shit out of people is being wheeled out, all at once. Perhaps it’s the new solution to obesity?

If the Islamists don’t get you, the ebola virus will and if you aren’t scared of ebola yet, wait until it becomes airborne.

Picture it – a mass of ebola virus zooming over the Mediterranean like a swarm of cartoon bees, shaped into an arrow and pointed at your house. Each one shouts ‘Banzai!’ as it zips in through your window and right up your nose. Then it eats you from the inside out. It’s now so virulent that you go to bed feeling fine but when you wake up and lift your head from the pillow, your eyes are still stuck to it, your arms and legs have no bones and the world has dropped out of your bottom.

Well, everyone else is scaring the masses. Might as well have a go too.

The UN Ebola Chief has been emitting some foulness

The longer the Ebola epidemic continues infecting people unabated, the higher the chances it will mutate and become airborne, the UN’s Ebola response chief has warned.

This is not just a mutation. This would be an entire change to the mode of action of this virus. It would become a respiratory virus and to do that, it would have to become a totally different virus. It wouldn’t be ebola any more. It would be flu.

In a surprising change of editorial policy, the Mail asked some sensible people their opinions.

‘The chances of Ebola becoming airborne are extremely small,’ said Dr Jeremy Farrar, a director at Wellcome Trust.

‘I am not aware of any viral infection changing its mode of transmission. This is not to say it would be impossible, but it’s important we retain a sense of proportion and not exaggerate the risks for it changing and becoming airborne. There is already enough fear and panic surrounding this epidemic.

Also:

Professor David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: ‘No-one can predict what will happen with the mutation of the virus, and there is no evidence to suggest that it will become a respiratory virus. Its epidemiology is consistent with transmission via blood, bodily secretions and excretions, which is exactly the same as other past epidemics.

‘Other viruses that transmit in a similar manner by blood, such as Hepatitis B and HIV, have not mutated in this manner. In order for Ebola to change, the virus would have to develop the capacity to attach to receptors in the respiratory system.’

Now, you would think that the Chief Ebolutionist or whatever his job title is, would know all this. He and his pals are meant to be ‘experts’ on this virus. As usual, they are no such thing. They are experts in spreading terror and panic. Ebola is not a respiratory virus. The nearest it can get to airborne is if an infected person sneezes at you, some infected saliva lands in your mouth and you swallow (not inhale) it. You would have to be at least in the same room as them.

Even true airborne viruses need pretty close contact. Places with recirculated air, such as planes, are wonderful places for cold and flu viruses. One person sneezes and the virus particles go around and around the rest of the passengers. Everyone’s a winner! Otherwise, you catch flu from someone who has flu. Viruses do not cruise around looking for people to infect. They do not have little wings and wind-up propellors. In fact, when they are whole viruses, they do absolutely nothing at all. They have no metabolism. They are only active when they are inside another cell.

Anyway, if it does become airborne, smokers would just cough it straight back out again so it’s really only nonsmokers who need worry.

Soon, further restrictions on travel will be imposed to counteract this imaginary threat and anyone who so much as sniffs in public is going to find themseves rapidly surrounded by a sea of nobody. No more need to light up to terrify the drones away from you. Just cough and say ‘Oh, I don’t feel well’ and watch them run screaming for the hills.

Which would be a mistake because that’s where the black-eyed ghosts are waiting.

Well, we don’t have ebola in the UK yet. The tabloids have to make do with whatever they can get.

At least the black-eyed ghost children aren’t obese.

 

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13 thoughts on “Ghost children and magic viruses.

  1. I remember the early 1980s AIDs scare and people in the local pub (yes, I’m old enough to remember when such things existed and we set the world to rights every night – banned now of course) talked about it .The raging fear was that HIV would mutate to become an airborne virus. Never happened of course but nothing changes in healthism scares.

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  2. Ebola will not be the greatest threat to mankind, Leggy. Top predator position comes through cunning, awareness and a constant state of preparedness. Complacency is the ultimate Reaper.

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  3. Excellent catch on the Mail column etc Leg! I had talked about the problem of airborne Ebola and other such threats in smoke-banned venues and airplanes years ago in “Brains.” It’s good to see that the chances of mutation to that form seem to be a lot less than I’d thought. It’s still a good idea to choose a smoke-easy pub during flu season though: you can bet yer britches it’ll have a far higher fresh-air infusion rate than any standard smoke-banned place.

    What has always puzzled me though is why fluid borne diseases aren’t spread by mosquitoes. There must be many instances of mosquitoes not getting quite a full meal before they are swished away and then landing on a person nearby to finish their repast. Is it simply a case of the microscopic nature of any such cross-transmission? Are our bodies generally equipped with defenses that keep us pretty safe from 5 or 500 or 5,000 little viral bugs while only tending to crumple when hit with several million from a single encounter? It’s hard to believe there would be “zero” cross transmission, but as far as I’m aware there hasn’t been a single case of HIV where there wasn’t a pretty clear transmission source involving sex or needles or other significant fluid contamination.

    Anyone out there know the story on that aspect of things?

    😕
    MJM

    – MJM

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    • Fluid-based viruses don’t transmit by mosquito because mosquitoes are actually quite neat, tidy feeders. They feed by inserting mouthparts into the host and steering the sharp tip into a blood vessel. The mouthparts are smooth, and designed not to catch on tissues, so there are very few places for a virus to hide on the surfaces. The inside of mosquito mouthparts are a one-way system; one channel squirts out saliva containing a local anaesthetic and a blood anticoagulant; the other channel is a one-way channel to the gut (the unrelated assassin bugs use but one channel).

      Malaria gets transmitted because it not only infects mammals but also mosquitoes, and actually invades the insect salivary glands in order to get retransmitted; some transgenic mosquitoes have been developed which are actually resistant to malaria infection (malaria makes mosquitoes ill too) so would out-compete wild-type mosquitoes. Nobody has quite had the nerve to try this in the wild yet, though.

      The only virus transmission by insects that I know of is transmission of plant viruses by aphids such as the Peach-Potato aphid.

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  4. The conspiracy theorist in me is saying that they are ramping this one up to the max so that someone somewhere will make a ton of money from it.

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  5. From the Daily Star splash:

    ‘And large dark spectres have been caught standing across the road seen staring at the pub.’

    Could be smokers wanting their haunt back 😉

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    • XX ‘And large dark spectres have been caught standing across the road seen staring at the pub.’XX

      Well, if they caught it, why did they not give it a good kicking until it told them what it was doing there? Or did they just let it go again?

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      • Morning FT. The hard-hitting journalism in that august rag doesn’t say. Perhaps they let them off with a caution, “smoking bad for you, m’kay”

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  6. I’m beginning to think there’s a plot to overwhelm every sewage system in the Western world

    Talking of which, excellent news today via Look North.

    Breaking news ‘Poo power’ project unveiled at Esholt water treatment works

    3 October 2014

    ” AN UPGRADED plant which turns ‘poo into power’ was formally unveiled today at the Esholt water treatment works in Bradford.

    The £33 million development is part of a £56 million investment which has helped to increase Bradford-based Yorkshire Water’s renewable energy generation by nearly 80 per cent.

    The company said the substantial improvement at the site would help to generate an expected 75 gigawatt hours of energy this year, enough to make over three billion cups of tea, by converting sewage.”
    http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11512051.__39_Poo_power__39__project__unveiled_at_Esholt_treatment_works/

    It powers the plant and provides lots of electricity, much more sensible than a load of stationary windmills cluttering up the countryside..
    A brilliant and environmentally sound solution to which I am happy to contribute.

    If I can save a hill from just one giant windmill it will all have been worthwhile…

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was a sewage works here, back in the 1980s, that ran two Land Rover engines to power generators. The engines had been tuned to burn the methane produced by the anaerobic treatment. They had stopped bothering by the 1990s because, as far as I understand it, maintenance was too much bother.

      With energy prices the way they are now, it might well be worth revisiting the idea. It certainly wouldn’t cost £33 million to set up!

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      • Oh I don’t know Leggy, from my point of view knowing that from now on every time I visit the bathroom I’m helping to keep the lights on is priceless!

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