By Aaron C. Hanson
The popularity of the living human dead or zombies within media dates back to 1919 in which we find a sense of somnambulism and horror within the German expressionist film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Since then a wide range of successful zombie related movies have horrified and fascinated millions of people worldwide.
Recently, interest and investment in this film and cable show genre has increased dramatically. For example, the most popular show in the history of AMC’s cable television program was listed as “The Walking Dead” (2012) and the recent box office opening of Paramount’s “World War Zombie” beat expectations with an estimated 120 million. Clearly, the underlying meaning of this growing world interest in the living infectious dead signifies a subconsciously driven desire to see our overpopulating world correct itself unnaturally by disease. Although it is true that most people live with a morbid fascination contrary to their own unrealized mortality, a most recent obsession with meandering human somnambulistic disease vectors in context represents another kind of monster from the id. Often, such monsters are collectively biased against reason provided that an opportunity for expression emerges surreptitiously.
Right now as you are reading this, such an opportunity has emerged!
That is in a very worst case scenario, a modified influenza A subtype virus such as H7N9 and worse in the hands of Syria’s biological weapons program could be inadvertently released into the hands of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah provided that tensions increase secondary to a reckless foreign policy of directly training and arming a Free Syrian Army (FSA). Clearly, the FSA aims to overthrow the current Syrian President Assad against the interests of President Putin and the Russian Federation.
Remember that of Iran’s predominant religion there exists the idea of a messianic figure that is prophesized to emerge following an unexpected world calamity. In the meantime, millions of Iranian worshipers continue to pray daily for this messiah to return for justice in the midst of oppressive sanctions limiting their resources. As sanctions continue to fail, tensions between the United States and Iran’s government are increasing.
If you are not yet concerned, think of the fact that a highly infectious and deadly virus similar to that of Ebola called Marburg had been successfully weaponized by the former Soviet Union (1988 to 1990). As an aerosol or inhalable dust, the end product is today referred to as “Variant U” after the late Soviet era scientist Koltsovo Nikolai Ustinov. Furthermore, it is suspected that Syria has shared some interest in this technology as knowledgeable scientists sought other ventures following the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991). It has been reported that the Marburg variant is many times more deadly than that of weapons grade Anthrax. Should any terrorist, group of terrorists, or enemy agent of the United States carry out a mission to deliver the inhalable dust of Marburg from a light aircraft, within a subway, or high rise building, the suffering and rates of mortality amongst innocent victims could be significant.
Like fetid rotting zombies, those infected with either a genetically modified influenza* or Marburg will likely wander listlessly in panic, madness, and utter confusion within quarantine areas, medical triage units, and other decontamination protection level centers prior to being cleared for release, if at all. Many will suffer an unimaginable death by suffocation as mechanical ventilation along with other oxygen assist devices end up in very short supply. Those who escape or refuse medical treatment will act as vectors for the disease to quickly spread throughout the world. If the modified influenza is utilized, human population numbers will most certainly fall prior to the development of a vaccine, treatment, or drug. Presently, there is not an effective treatment for the Marburg variant and therefore, mortality rates for infected human beings will remain very high. Interestingly, in January of 2013 a vaccine for Ebola has been developed for non-human primates. The antisense phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) treatment for Marburg challenged primates has also shown promise but remains impractical for widespread use.
As the highly infectious Marburg virus exists in the family Filoviridae, symptoms will be similar to that of Ebola with the initial onset of fever, joint soreness, nausea, malaise, and intractable head pain. When the deadly disease advances, blackened tarry diarrhea along with bloody emesis begins. Following this, star shaped clotting appears under the skin and there will be reddened sclera of the eyes from broken vessels, edema of the skin, chest pain, cough with bloody sputum, severe stomach pain, and blood weeping from pores of the skin. Near the end of life one can expect excessive bleeding from the nose, mouth, anus, ears, and eyes. Unlike Ebola, early treatments such as the use of interferon will do little to decrease the rates of mortality for Marburg.
Now think of today’s growing fascination and incredible success of zombie movies and remember to be aware and most careful of what you wish for…
*See also avian influenza (H5N1) genetically modified to be highly contagious by researcher Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands.