05.06.2013 10:27 AM

Patient Zero

Turns out the tale of Patient Zero – the Canadian flight attendant – was, as with many things, a lie.  Story here.

Reading this story reminds me of my Dad and my family, believe it or not.  Chances are our family knew about AIDS long before most of you did.

As I have related before, my Dad was an immunologist before he became a bio-ethicist. When I was a kid, I remember him coming home to tell us about a frightening virus that didn’t really have a name yet. Some of the doctors at the hospital, he said, were scared by the profound toll it was taking on three “H” communities – Haitians, homosexuals and heroin users. I remember him saying it was the most formidable virus any of them had ever seen. “If it does what we think it is going to do,” he said, “it will kill millions of people.”

It did. Every year, now, it kills about two million people. Many more live with it.  And my Dad mourned the loss of every single one of those patients he had, as he and others struggled to stop the spread of this terrible disease.

As the Star story suggests, it is wrong to associate complex problems with simple causes.  But that’s what the media demand, and so we go along with it.

We shouldn’t.  In any event, a fascinating story, and worth a read.


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    frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:


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    patrick says:

    Way, way, way back, I remember reading a story about a disease affecting “only” a select few who where using some drug. I think about the time we were terrified that herpes was going to stop sex forever. For some unknown reason it stuck in my head – other than being a hypochondriac – and later connected this somewhat innocuous back page story to the epidemic 5 years later. So lots of people knew, before lots of people knew.
    I really wish I could find that article just for the time line.

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