Where's Your Messiah Now, Flanders?

The current count stands at 81 dead and over 1300 infected with swine flu, primarily in and around Mexico City – for now. The Terrifying Disease of the hour – I’m sure we all remember how avian flu was going to wipe out the human race, or West Nile virus before that – looks like it will either be a flash in the health news pan, or the end of the goddamn world, or something in between. All joking aside, I don’t have to tell anyone that flus can get nasty, and this one is a humdinger. It’s a never before seen strain of the H1N1 flu, which wiped out as many as 100 million people when it mutated into Spanish Influenza in 1918. It apparently contains RNA fragments from pigs, humans and birds, making it something of a wild card, and it has already shown the potential for passing from human to human. Worse news is the toll it’s taking – so far, most deaths have been among young adults, the demographic ordinarily least susceptible to common flu viruses.

This points to a developing pandemic, which would be particularly hard on young people with healthy immune systems, and could spread far and fast. Pandemic flus are also particularly lethal, and it’s not a good way to go, as instead of the flu killing you, victims are attacked by their own overzealous white blood cells. When you body sees a completely new strain of flu, it freaks the hell out and sends it’s entire arsenal against the virus. This has the rather unpleasant unintended side effect of producing huge excesses of body fluids. These fluids flood the lungs and drown sufferers from the inside. 

For right now, current flu treatments seem to be pretty effective in combating this strain of swine flu, so that’s something. But it couldn’t hurt to hold a good thought, take a vitamin and knock on wood tonight. Meanwhile keep checking back here for swine flu updates, robots, news from space and more – as long as the world as we know it keeps existing, you’ll be able to read all about it here.