Between Oxford University and Belgian scientists, it seems to have become clear as to the origins of the HIV virus. A confluence of increasing population and making Kinshasa a major railway hub by the Belgians from the 1920’s onwards seems to have built up pressure (victims) within the boundaries of Belgian Congo. Somehow, early in the 20th Century the virus made the leap from monkeys to man, perhaps through a bite or the eating of jungle meat, or maybe something altogether more prosaic such as through monkey urine in the water; the cause will probably remain unclear forever.
Come the independence in 1960 the tide broke as travel around central Africa exploded along train lines and major roads. At this point it spread just like any other disease with predictable results and from there most of us are familiar with the rest of the story. So it wasn’t a plague on gays, it wasn’t any of the other spurious and frankly vile rumours spread since its discovery in the 1980’s. Not really a surprise to most of us.
Why am I writing about this? I’ll tell you. It was interesting how the HIV virus seemed contained mostly within the borders of the Belgian Congo for 30 years – that’s one hell of a long time for a virus to be so held at bay (albeit not to the benefits of the poor victims in the Congo). If we look at what is happening with Ebola we see an altogether more frightening scenario building up. With train, plane and automobile connections freely available to and from the affected areas, we no longer have the natural containment boundaries that held HIV at bay back in the day. What we have seen on the telly indicates those natural boundaries that have protected one territory from another for centuries has been dissolved allowing the easy and rapid spread of something that is incredibly dangerous.
The one upside of Ebola, if it can be so called, is the fact that its incubation period is much shorter – HIV developing symptoms as full-blown AIDS could take 10 or more years and so the spread could go undetected for a very long period of time. With changing social morals and apparently the burgeoning sex trade also to blame this was going to be one mother to fix. Apparently only 1.5 million people succumbed to AIDs last year.
Apparently Ebola has already managed to penetrate the protective suits used by medical staff in Africa – proven by the death of a poor Spanish nurse in the last few days. There is talk that because this outbreak is taking so long to overcome, it is being given time in which it could mutate and become pneumonic – now that’s a truly frightening thought.
I know we all love The Walking Dead (TWD) and the Zombie Apocalypse, but from my point of view I’d like to see this contagion scenario remain on the screen forever and a day. I’ve given too much thought when writing my books as to what it would be like if it really happened – I reckon I would have trouble truly describing the worst aspects of it in reality. Would I live through it? Would I want to? I have no idea, what about you?
Books by the Author – available worldwide on all good eBook stores:
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle (first in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (second in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez (third in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle Trilogy – three books in one
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle (first in trilogy)
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor (second in trilogy)
The Animus Portal