Pestilence Takes a Ride

Deer Mouse
The deer mouse is the official ‘carrier’ of the Hantavirus.

DURING my years in Bloomington, Indiana, studying molecular biology, I recall several of my professors mentioning the coming age of ’emerging diseases’, especially new viral infections. One seasoned genetics professor explained to us that extended exploration to exotic locations coupled with ease of global travel (and enclosed airline air systems) added up to assured exposure of vulnerable populations. In other words, you and I are more likely to catch diseases to which we are not immune. 

This isn’t anything new, of course. We’ve all read the story of European soldiers bringing smallpox to “the New World” native population. In 1520, Hernando Cortez and his men introduced smallpox to the natives Mexico during their assault on the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan. In the years that followed, almost 90% of the population of the New World was killed by smallpox.

A well-known example of an ’emerging disease’ is hantavirus, a negative-sensed, single-stranded RNA viron first discovered in the 1950s in Korea. In 1993, a new species of hantavirus emerged in the four-corners area of New Mexico. Exposure to this nasty, rodent-vectored bug resulting in cardiovascular and pulmonary dysfunction.

In Africa, hemorrhagic diseases such as Marburg and Ebola ravage entire villages; each outbreak a mere plane ride away from major world cities. In India, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya have infected as much as 45% of the population — again advanced travel means these viruses will eventually take a trip to Europe or the US.

Now, those who know me, or who have listened to PID Radio for a while, know that I keep a small and very stylish tinfoil hat on my desk, just in case I need it when considering happenings in the world that just don’t add up. I’ll admit, that I’ve used that aluminum ‘thinking cap’ while considering a new and emerging disease now being reported in Texas, California, and Florida: Morgellons.

If you’re unfamiliar with Morgellons disease, you’re not alone. In fact, even medical professionals admit ignorance whenever this very new, very distrurbing disorder is mentioned. According to the Morgellons Research Foundation, victims of this mystery ailment complain of fibrous or filmentous structures that actually seem to be growing from their skin. In addition, patients report the presence of seed-like granules and black speck-like material associated with their skin. Patients report crawling, itching, stinging sensations as well as skin lesions that refuse to heal. Not only do patients find little remedy from their doctors, but the depression and neurological sensations sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts.

If you do a web search for ‘Morgellons’, you will find many articles claiming patients are imagining symptoms or even inventing them. What you won’t find is a cure — and you might well find articles written by physicians, scientists, or other so-called experts claiming Morgellons is nothing more than a psychosomatic illness. As a sufferer of Fibromyalgia, I sympathize with anyone who presents with persistent, debilitating symptoms, only to be told ‘it’s all in your head’. That, however, is what many Morgellons victims hear — visit after visit, doctor after doctor, until they must begin to doubt their own sanity.  

The cause of Morgellons is arguable, but I would look to chemical pollutants in our soil, in our skies, and in our food. My genetics professor knew what he was talking about — God bless him.  But Jesus told us two thousand years ago that we’d see a rise in plagues during the countdown to the ‘end of the age’. Mystery illnesses will continue to emerge, doctors will wag their collective heads in puzzlement, and the world will continue to spin

For now. But the ‘end of the age approaches’ — hoofbeats resound in nightly newscasts. Mystery illnesses, poverty, war, famine, and a chilling coldness of heart permeate our daily lives.

Do you know Christ as your Savior? If not, what’s keeping you from making the ultimate choice for Life?  

Romans 13:11 says this: 

…now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.      

Humanists like to think the world is getting better and better. I’m not so sure. In my own lifetime, attitudes and actions prove otherwise. Riders raise dust on the horizon. Are you ready?