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Feeding the Fear with These Future Diseases

DISEASE MAP ESSENTIALS STOC KYou may have noticed that over the past years, and even decades, there has been a very regular trend to highlight an "emerging disease". While the disease itself might well have been worthy of concern and action, the ensuing hype and panic (generated by governments and media alike) would often throw the seriousness and extent of such an outbreak completely out of all proportion. While we all have an inbuilt biological fear to keep us alive when we sense danger, there is also an engineered fear - to make you afraid of yourself. You become fearful of things you will never actually have to face and that TV or computer screen in your home can be the master and the manipulator of your fears.

Feeding the Fear

A couple of years ago, I wrote a guest post and it was called Feeding the Fear where I spoke about having seen a poster proclaiming “Please Do Not Feed The Fears” with a play on “Fears” rather than “Bears”. The sentiment expressed is unfortunately so typical of everything that is wrong with the media and those in authority today. It may not be a completely new concept — instilling fear into people — but it has certainly become much worse. Those various fearful viruses, that gripped global populations to such an extent that some would not travel or were reduced to wearing face masks, were all exploited to the full in an effort to make us fearful. I am sure you will remember some of those diseases only too well.

That list

Back in the early 1980s, it was genital herpes and of course HIV/AIDS that really hit the headlines. But it was only after 2000 that the scare mongering took its toll.
  • 2003 - Sars
  • 2004 - Bird flu
  • 2009 - Swine flu
  • 2012 - Mers
  • 2014 - Ebola
  • 2015 - Zika
Each outbreak came with its own set of dire warnings, followed by the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it to be a pandemic (but later downgrading said pandemic in many cases) while pharmaceutical companies feverishly worked to produce a "cure" or preferably the more profitable "vaccine". The sceptics among us would find it difficult not to believe that it was all part of a "put up job". And the greater picture was always to "feed the fear". You can be sure that Zika was not the last in the list of diseases that went viral. I have already seen a newspaper headline proclaiming: "The diseases that are set to go viral in 2017".

Look out for these

I thought you might be interested to read what these are so that, if one such disease suddenly and inexplicably grabs the media's attention, you will be able to say: "Aah yes, there it is!"
  • Leishmaniastis. Highly topical because this parasitic infection is known as Aleppo Boil and has recently become a problem among Syrian refugees. The symptoms are disfiguring skin ulcers - and occasionally it can spread to internal organs which can be fatal. The disease is spread by the bite of the sandfly. I can just see the term "Aleppo Boil" becoming a successful media headline.
  • Rift Valley Fever. This is another disease spread by insects - and not from person to person. While it is only transmitted in parts of Africa, and from those mosquitoes who have previously bitten livestock, it can appear in travellers returning from Africa. And the fear put forward is that such a traveller could be a carrier who spreads it to new continents - Rift Valley Fever is another name with a good ring to it for the media to use. The symptoms are a vague fever, aches and pains but can progress to internal bleeding, liver failure, brain inflammation and blindness. If bleeding occurs, the death rate increases greatly.
  • Mayaro. Yet another inspect-spread disease - namely the by the Aedes mosquito. Making a recent surprise appearance in Haiti, it was quickly described as the "next Zika". It could well be that this emerging disease flourished because of a breakdown in civil society. Others can be as a result of war flare ups. The symptoms of Mayaro are fever, aches and pains, and a rash.
  • Elizabethkingia. Found worldwide, and the only bacterial pathogen in this list, this disease could well prove to be a problem because of the resistance to antibiotics. It presents in a variety of ways from pneumonia to meningitis to sepsis.
  • Finally, Oropouche. It is back to the mosquito again for this tropical viral infection which has recently been expanding its range. Symptoms include a self limiting fever, loss of appetite, headaches and vomiting. Adding to the concern is the occasional meningitis complication.
Of course, it may well be something completely different and not on this list at all. But remember! It is not just the threat of illness that makes us fearful. There are plenty of other ways in which we can be manipulated too.