Wednesday, March 26, 2003

While we've been worried about war, could one of the other horsemen of the apocalypse have been sneaking up behind us? This has the potential to become a more imminent danger than terrorism combining with nuclear proliferation to end civilization. This is also a war we are perhaps less prepared to fight then we were a few decades ago, unlike Iraq. It is only recently that a middle class family in a prosperous progressive country need not expect to lose any children to disease. With the recent discussion of biological warfare, humanity's (especially America's and a few others') glorious triumph over smallpox is imperiled. Are the huge triumphs we have made over disease only temporary, unless we drastically increase our vigilance? This may be a triumph of the greatest generation we do not have the stamina to maintain - and many who talk about the Greatest Generation and are more concerned about decreasing taxes than strengthening society are most guilty.

What worries me about this story is that we seem to be going backwards. A day or so ago it sounded like the cause was pretty much isolated.

The disease could be caused by a combination of typically benign viruses, producing a virulent double impact on the human immune system.

Or, more puzzlingly, none of the viruses found so far is to blame -- that these microbes may be so common that their presence in patient tissue specimens is simply a coincidence.

No comments: