Thursday, February 4, 2016

Will the Zika Seek Ya?

Scary stuff, this Zika virus.  Viruses are strange little non-critter critters anyway, and these days a lot of young folk probably assume any initial reference to a virus has everything to do with some vicious computer attack. 

I suspect that we humans have long overstayed our welcome on planet Earth.  Were we not cranked up with intelligence, ingenuity, opposable thumbs and a basic quest for essentials such as food, water, medical care, sex and celebrity gossip, we'd have bought the farm hundreds or thousands of years ago.  Viruses, depending upon the status of one's immune system, would be our executioners, no matter our kindness in serving as their unwilling hosts.

Maybe we're approaching a permanent, yet long drawn-out bedtime for everything human, and a major focus of environmental or unknown sources turning out the lights appears to center upon the brain.  The increase in Alzheimer's, autism, brain tumors and various neurological disorders may signify a direction in which we are all headed, to a destination none of us really wants.

While the Zika virus assures a terrible death for infants born with a skull too small and a brain consequently unable to function properly, an attack carries yet another horror for children and adults exposed to Zika:  The potential, evidently, to acquire the Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological condition which sneaks up on you, and almost before you know it you're flat on your back, unable to move so much as a muscle, perhaps even unable to breathe on your own.

I'm not unacquainted with the G-B syndrome.  During my enlisted years in Air Force hospitals I encountered several such patients, everybody from a 13-year-old girl, to an airman in his twenties, to an elderly man.  Patients require a high and expensive level of care, and the condition can keep one paralyzed for weeks, necessitating months of post-hospital care and exercise.  If you're lucky.

If an asteroid, radiation from outer space, alien chefs or something deep within the Earth doesn't take us all out eventually, maybe viruses will do the dirty work.  Funny thing with Zika is, it kinda looks like attorneys, at last, won't be able to sue the pants off anybody, should their clients become infected.  Zika appears to be an equal opportunity menace, and nobody seems to be pulling the strings -- even if science discovers that genetic manipulation from years way past figures into this.