Mystery Pig-Flu Came From Nowhere - NBC New York

Mystery Pig-Flu Came From Nowhere

Horror plague combines viruses from pigs, birds, and people

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    We don't know how, but pigs played a vital role in creating a mystery virus that may or may not kill us all.

    Terrified citizens who escape the plague of zombie dogs and cannibal crickets marching across our wasted plains may still fall prey to a smaller, more insidious foe: a hybrid human-swine-bird virus that has already infected seven people.

    Every few years we have to battle one of these mysterious horror-plagues, so you think we'd be used to it by now. Remember the bird flu, which was supposed to murder us all, but just ended up killing some folks in China as well as some Turkish youngsters who spent days playing with the heads of dead, infected chickens? The lesson there: if you must play with chicken heads, make sure they're clean.

    The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed somewhere between 20 and 50 million people. That was a bird flu, too, and remains a buried secret in much of America because it was so horrifying -- what with millions of healthy young people coughing up their lungs and turning blue before they suffocated to death on their own sputum.

    This latest flu looks pretty weird because it combines viruses from pigs, birds, and humans, but never before have researchers seen "such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix."

    Naturally, the question now on everybody's lips is: how on earth did such a crazy intercontinental, interspecies vessel of doom even come about? Ha ha, nobody knows!

    Just a handful of Californians and Texans have caught the virus to date, which despite its freaky components ends up causing run-of-the-mill flu symptoms: cough, fever, sore throat.

    Completely boring ... for now. Only time will tell if this flu will just die quietly or continue to increase in power and lethality until America becomes a nation of undead pig-faced humans with wings, prowling the abandoned streets in search of one last "pure" human to save us all.

    Epidemiologist Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.