I am starting to feel like a normal person (well, as normal as possible for me…) again after a rather hectic period of editing Book 2 of the No Safety in Numbers trilogy, No Easy Way Out. I am so excited about this book. I wish I could give it to you right now! Alas, this cannot be…

So instead, I give you THIS MONTH IN HYPOCHONDRIA!

I hope this isn’t a spoiler, but No Safety in Numbers deals in part with the effects of a biological attack on a suburban mall. (There. Now I’ve ruined EVERYTHING!) In researching biohazards for the book, I found that there are many terrifying things in the real world that don’t require all that fancy biological weapon stuff! Things that are terrifying simply because they are ALREADY OUT THERE! (Mwa-ha-ha!)

Things like the new SARS-like virus that killed one man in Saudi Arabia and left another in critical condition. SARS is caused by a coronavirus, which is the same type of virus that causes the common cold. In 2002-03 more than 8,000 people caught SARS and one in ten of those infected died. Health teams have converged to try to find the source of this new virus, which appears to be deadly, but not easily transmissible between people.

Or how about the swine flu variant that is transmissible from infected pigs? More than 300 people caught a type of swine flu from pigs at state fairs this summer.

There has also been research showing that flu viruses found in commercial pig herds, which exhibit genetic properties from human, bird, and swine flus, can mutate to become deadly and highly contagious. Scientists cautioned that the virus used in this experiment was not concerning because it resembled an existing form of the flu, meaning the majority of people have some immunity to the type of virus.

Why all the hullabaloo about the flu? Well, flus are kind of serious business. Just ask anyone who lived during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Or watch this excellent American Experience video about it. Or rewatch the last few episodes of last season’s Downton Abbey. (Now THERE’S a spoiler…)

I mention all of this because it is the beginning of the flu season and thus, it is time again to break out the hand sanitizer. Get your flu shot! Wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you cough and turn away from others when you sneeze! Everyone around you will be grateful:)

And now, in other science related news, two baby walruses were rescued in Alaska and appear to be the cuddliest, cutest things on earth….after my buddy Peetles, that is.

 

What I’m reading: Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson (Yet another classic that I’ve never read before)

What I’m watching: Mythbusters (Because it is awesome…and is on Netflix)

What I’m listening to: “Die Young” by Ke$ha (Don’t judge me)

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