The World Health Organization is bracing for the outbreak of a new virus that could lead to the next global pandemic. Known as “lunaticius-0 vascular excitamitus,” or L0VE for short, the virus has so far proven both unpredictable and difficult to study. Scientists everywhere are saying to themselves, “I want to know what L0VE is.”
“The physical make-up of this virus is unusual,” said Dr. Sven Jurgenson of the WHO. “Normally, the viral cell will incubate in a body by means of a single hook-like phalange called a splendah. But L0VE has several such splendahs. In fact, L0VE is a many-splendahed thing.”
In lab experiments designed to demonstrate the power of L0VE, virologists have injected L0VE and other infectious viruses in hosts to see which will dominate. Invariably, L0VE conquers all.
Because of the strength and unpredictability of the virus, the WHO is certain that L0VE will become a worldwide pandemic. Traditional inoculation techniques are also proving ineffective in keeping L0VE from growing.
“It seems that no matter what we do to try and stop it, L0VE will find a way,” said Dr. Jurgenson.
The WHO is now trying to determine where the first L0VE outbreak will occur.
“For all we know, the outbreak has already begun,” said Dr. Jurgenson. “We’ve been monitoring Europe and North America but it could be that we’ve been looking for L0VE in all the wrong places.”
The problem with L0VE is that no one knows how it is spread. While scientists believe it can be transmitted through physical contact, there’s evidence that L0VE can be spread even at a distance.
“In one case study, we had two people, their eyes met across a crowded room and, bam! L0VE at first sight,” explained Dr. Jurgenson.
This crazy little thing called L0VE is similarly unpredictable in its choice of hosts. No particular segment of the population appears to be immune to L0VE but some people are more susceptible than others, including adolescents, poets, fools and strangers in the night. When it comes to choosing its victims, it would appear that L0VE is blind.
Symptoms of L0VE include light-headedness, sweating palms, racing heart, dry throat and a sense of euphoria. L0VE is strongest at the outset but can have lingering effects for years, also known as endless L0VE.
“The virus reacts differently in different people,” said Dr. Jurgenson. “On the one hand, you may find that L0VE hurts. On the other you may discover that L0VE lifts you up where you belong.”
The fact that people react so differently makes L0VE difficult to diagnose.
“There are many viruses like L0VE that have similar symptoms,” explained Dr. Jurgenson. “But there’s really only one true L0VE.”
Governments around the world are now preparing for outbreaks of L0VE, and there are concerns that this new virus will have an even greater impact than the H8TE virus, which has devastated the Middle East.
In Canada, the Stephen Harper government is doing everything in its power to fight the L0VE. Health Canada reports that it is beginning to stockpile vaccines against the virus. This too has proven controversial as researchers have already developed eight potions that have been ineffective against the virus. However, Health Canada is confident that L0VE potion number nine will do the trick.
In the U.S., the Obama government is taking a wait-and-see approach to the virus. “Let’s see what L0VE can do,” said a White House spokesman.
That’s what the whole world is doing now, waiting to see what happens when L0VE comes to town. The WHO predicts that we should see L0VE bloom sometime in mid-February.
In addition to concerns about a L0VE outbreak is the possibility of the virus mutating. This has already occurred in laboratory tests, where the virus cross-mutated with the canine flu. And they call it puppy L0VE.
Taken from Don’t Everyone Jump at Once, a collection of humour pieces by Ross Murray to be published this spring by Blue Ice Books.