A Leap into an Active Imagination
By Joseph Parish
We all have become accustomed to the various symptoms associated with the dreaded swine flu as well as the many hypotheses that have sprung up contributing to its origins. What I am about to put into these pages is nothing less then a figment of my imagination and should not be construed as fact in any way what so ever.
It is imperative that we as accountable, community members recognize the symptoms of the flu in order to suitably prevent its spread and ensure prevention. We should be able to accurately distinguish these symptoms ourselves in order to diagnose the illness at its earliest stage.
In America so far we have been fortunate that nearly all of the flu cases encountered have been mild with most symptoms being similar to those often found in the common seasonal flu. We have experienced only a small number of people that have developed the more serious sign of the disease. These symptoms are:
Now for the sake of argument suppose that some government which will remain unknown at this time decided to bio-engineer a new type of virus which theoretically contained a little know ingredients called tetrodotoxin. What is tetrodotoxin, you may be asking? Well I am about to continue my flight of fantasy and explain it to you.
Being a person of a scientific and biological mind I know that one could easily create a virus that would itself be resistant to the Tetrodotoxin, but would transfer the negative effects to the host. Tetrodotoxin or "tetrodox" is a potent neurotoxin that has no known antidote. Tetrodotoxin works by blocking the action effect upon the nervous system by the process of binding to the pores of various nerve cell membranes. This toxin is often found in certain fish such as ocean sunfish, porcupine fish and puffer fish.
Tetrodotoxin toxins are usually employed as a defensive measure by not only these fish but also certain toads in order to ward off predators. The common source of bacteria associated with this toxin is Vibrio bacteria. The most widespread creatures which contain tetrodotoxin are shown to also contain specific levels of Vibrio alginolyticus bacteria.
The prevalence of tetrodotoxin in the central nervous system makes it a valuable agent for use in silencing neural activity within a cell. A poisoned individual dies as a result of the heart muscles becoming paralyzed. This compound has shown some usefulness in medical treatment of some types of cardiac arrhythmias. It has also shown promise in the treatment of pain from terminal cancer, migraines or heroin withdrawal.
As a poisoning, Tetrodotoxin is actually 100 more times deadlier than potassium cyanide with certain levels of tetrodotoxin being sufficient to produce paralysis of ones diaphragm and ultimately death as a result of respiratory failure. Sometimes the compound is not always entirely fatal but at near lethal doses the result is a person in a state of near death for a couple of days or more. Of particular interest is that while this person is in the near death state and displays all indications of being dead they are actually conscious. It is for this reason if none other that tetrodotoxin has often been alleged to be an active ingredient found in Haitian voodoo and related to zombie powder.
A glance at the Tetrodotoxin Material Safety Data Sheet would reveal that the lethal dose for humans would be less then 25 milligrams or .000881 oz and would successfully kill a 170 pound person. Now letís review the symptoms of this poisoning. Diagnosis is generally difficult and is based upon observed symptoms. One tends to develop:
If the patient survives for 24 hours then they may completely recover without any sort of residual effects.
As you can possibly tell a slight poisoning effect may border closely to the swine flu we are currently experiencing. As I have said this article is strictly my imagination running wild and should not be taken as fact. I present it merely to entice your thirst for interesting theories and exercise your imagination.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish