> ALERT ALERT: Media Panic Sighted
> Yes, it's time for all media-enabled virologists to start getting their
> agents and putting together their speech kits before hitting the roads.
> This could be as big as the "Greenhouse Effect" of the late 80s.
I love it...! The Cinderella science, in the spotlight! And all
because hype sells books and movies, and Americans worry too much!!!
WARNING!!! SAMPLE HYPE MESSAGE ONLY!!! DO NOT TAKE LITERALLY!!! DO
NOT REMOVE THIS WARNING!!!
PLANT VIRUS WORSE THAN AIDS!! COULD KILL MORE PEOPLE THAN HIV!!!
An anonymous spokesman for the USDA confirmed today that a plant
virus which is related to the lethal hantaviruses which have recently killed a
number of people in the American Southwest, is causing havoc in
agriculture around the world. The virus - which goes by the
innocuous-sounding name of "tomato spotted wilt virus", or TSWV - is transmitted by thrips, a
type of biting insect, similar to others in the virus family which
affect humans and animals. The virus has a very wide host range,
occurs world-wide, and can cause very severe damage to crops. Enough
damage, say the experts, to reduce crop yields significantly, and
for commercial and especially for subsistence farmers. This has the
effect of causing starvation directly by reducing the food production
of subsistence farmers who have no recourse to insecticidal sprays,
and indirectly by pushing up food prices in affected areas.
It has been speculated that the virus is another "emerging virus",
like the lethal Ebola viruses which killed humans in Africa, and
monkeys in the US, the Four Corners / Muerto Canyon hantavirus
which recently killed people in the US, and the many "new"
whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses rampaging up into the US from
Central and South America. The unnamed source refused to
comment when asked where the virus had come from, or whether there
was any possibility that it would infect humans: "We have no
information on that at this time" was all this reporter could
extract from him.
- HY Steria, KNWTL News.
| Ed Rybicki, PhD | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za |
| Dept Microbiology | University of Cape Town |
| Private Bag, Rondebosch | 7700, South Africa |
| fax: x27-21-650 4023 | phone: x27-21-650-3265 |
------WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology------
"And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams..."