9 Days Until the End of My Book…Or the End of the World

English: Avian flu vaccine development by reve...

English: Avian flu vaccine development by reverse genetics technique. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent the day with my mother yesterday.  It would have been her 48th wedding anniversary had my Dad lived to see it.  Dad passed away a little over 2 years ago, and that day is always very sad for mom.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much writing done, but she’s worth the time spent.  I took her to lunch and we spent the day setting up her new iMac.  When I arrived home, it was my evening to cook dinner, and after doing dishes I collapsed.

Ok.  On to today’s end of the world scenario.

Method by which we meet our demise #9: Pandemic Plague

In my novel, the scenario goes like this:  On an island in the Black Sea is a little known former Soviet germ warfare facility/laboratory called Sverdlovsk.  Lovely place, really.  Apparently in 1979 they engineered a lovely little virus called Volos.  Named after the ancient Slavic god of death, Volos has an incubation period of two weeks, at which time the subject is completely contagious via symptoms that resemble the common cold (i.e. sneezing, coughing, runny nose).  After this two week period, the virus takes on a completely different form.  The symptoms grow to include fever, sore throat, weakness, severe headache, joint and muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, dry, hacking cough and stomach pain.  A rash, red eyes, hiccups, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients. When the rash develops on dark skin, it is often not recognized until the rash begins to peel. In pregnant women, abortion (miscarriage) and heavy vaginal bleeding are common Volos symptoms. Death usually occurs during the second week of Volos symptoms. Death in Volos victims is usually from massive blood loss.

Pretty nasty, huh?

There is more to the backstory of how the virus spread around the world, but think about this for just a minute.  Most people don’t realize the realities of pandemics and that we are definitely due for another one soon.  In 1918, the pandemic flu wiped out 20-50 million people world wide, and that was before we had transcontinental airline travel.  Think of what a virus like the avian flu or some anti-biotic resistant strain of tuberculosis could do to our world.  We would be helpless as it ravaged through our close knit communities and cities, spreading from airport to airport.  The CDC reports that the most imminent threat we have right now is the avian flu becoming airborne and spreading across the globe.

Get the GermX, cover your mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often…but it may not be enough.

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4 thoughts on “9 Days Until the End of My Book…Or the End of the World

  1. I love conspiracy stories, so the whole Soviet background to this intrigued me. I think everyone should see the movie “Contagion” for the simple reason that you’re right: people really don’t get how a virus or bacteria like that would change our world. It’s the plot line in a lot of stories, including popular ones like “Return of the Planet of the Apes” (which explained the question everyone asked after the original and the remake: how in the world did apes take over when we had tanks?). The 1918 flu epidemic was even mentioned in “Twilight” for those who enjoyed that series.

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