The Armageddon diseases
Following an attempt by this column to lift the veil over the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu captures here a dialogue between a young inquisitive John and his uncle on diseases aptly described as The Armageddon Diseases. Here the conversation goes:
The epithet “Armageddon Diseases” arose among End-Time watchers and commentators, as they observed and identified certain diseases and disease pathogens that could successfully end all life on earth. The matter goes beyond the physical, as a close reading of AbduRafiu’s “The World in a Closing Cage”, which appeared on this page last week, makes clear. The Coronavirus, which is not really new, is only an addition to the cocktail of man-made biological misfortunes.
In this dialogue, John and his uncle examine some of the issues around what is now called “Armageddon diseases” in some places and why many previously “conquered” diseases have resurfaced in even more virulent forms.
John: Today, I will like you to explain to me why many previously cured diseases are back and why the drugs that used to treat them are no longer effective.
Uncle: The misuse of antibiotics is one of the reasons. Abuse of the environment, global travel, irresponsible scientific experiments through genetic engineering, wrong sexual practices, the wrongful cross breeding of plants and animals, and improper domestication of certain forest animals are also contributory factors.
John: I don’t understand.
Uncle:Many old pathogens are now immune to many conventional drugs. Global travel is taking harmful organisms from one part of the earth to another, carrying some diseases to places where they would not have been found in the past.
John: Oh, I see!
Uncle: We are also cutting down trees without planting new ones. This has disrupted the balance of gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
John: But are trees really that important?
Uncle: Yes! They are like the lungs of the earth. They release oxygen when we and most other living organisms need it, as they take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis, during the day. The ruination of this natural apparatus for air purification and balance creates excess carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as a result of industrialization and many aspects of modern living.
John: Wait a minute! That is how we have ended up with our world full of greenhouse gases.
Uncle: Exactly! The melting ice at the poles has increased global water volume, raised sea levels, diluted the natural salinity, or salt level, of the oceans and endangered many marine animals that can only survive in the original saltwater of the oceans.
John: Besides endangering the life of marine animals, does rising water level really pose any other dangers?
Uncle: Of course! All shorelines in the world and all lower lying cities will go under in the coming years, because of flooding and tsunamis. That is part of the reason why the number of “sinking” cities all over the world is on the increase.
John: Sinking cities? I have never heard of such a thing.
Uncle: Well, you just heard that now. The following 11 cities of the world are officially known in global geological, oceanographic and environmental circles as sinking cities, which will all eventually go under with time: Jakarta (Indonesia), Lagos (Nigeria), Houston (Texas), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Venice (Italy), Virginia Beach (Virginia), Bangkok (Thailand), New Orleans (Louisiana), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Alexandria (Egypt) and Miami Florida.
John: What? And this is in addition to what you called Armageddon diseases? No, wait a minute, but are there some very tangible examples of these supposedly lethal things, apart from the Corona virus?
Uncle: The Hantavirus is one good example; and it is not new. The Brain Eating Amoeba (Naugleria Fowleri), which causes Meningoen cephalitis, is another. The latter, which enters through the nose and therefrom to the brain, is commonly found in some lakes, rivers and hot springs. It has over 99 per cent fatality rate, as only three out the 138 people who have contacted it between 1962 and 2015 survived.
John: Ninety-nine per cent fatality rate?
Uncle: Yes. Imagine what would happen if our beaches were to be suddenly infested. Everything I am telling you can be verified.
Uncle: The use of fertilizers and certain types of refrigerants has created large open spaces in the atmosphere, which lets in harmful solar and cosmic radiations that the atmosphere was originally designed by nature to keep out.
John: Not that I am entirely sure what you are talking about right now, uncle, but can`t all these things be quickly reversed? We live in the 21st century, do we not?
Uncle: Yes, we do. But we still cannot deal with the deadly fungal infection from Cryptococcus gattii.
John: Fungal infection from what?
Uncle: Never mind the name. Just note that this disease was once limited to the subtropical climate of places such as Papua New Guinea, Australia and South America. Today it is doing well in the climate of the Pacific North West of North America, because of global warming and other human activities. Oregon and Vancouver Island now host it.
John: Wow! But are there many other such Armageddon diseases?
Uncle: Yes, there are. There is the incurable West Nile Virus, which is a deadly infection that is spread by mosquitoes. It is difficult to detect on time, because an infected person usually does not show any symptoms. The severe form of the infection develops to West Nile Encephalitis, or West Nile Meningitis.
John: That means the virus is all over Nigeria! We are finished!
Uncle: Of course not! Why do you say so?
John: Because we have a lot of mosquitoes here!
Uncle: No, the mosquito in our environment do not carry it. Three mosquito-borne diseases that we do not have here in Nigeria are (1) Chikungunya, (2) Rift Valley Fever and (3) Dengue Fever.
John: Well, that is good to know. As a matter of fact, the names of these diseases sound bad enough to give somebody a fever.
Uncle: Perhaps I should only just say that Dengue Fever now records over 100 million infections globally each year. It has moved further north. Florida, US, which had not had any reported local cases of Dengue fever outside the Texas/Mexico border for over 60 years, had an outbreak in 2009.
John: Please are there any more of these your Armageddon diseases?
Uncle: They are not “my” diseases. There is an incurable disease from the Carribeans, called Ciguatera, which used to be found only mostly in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the tropical Carribeans. It is connected with Climate Change and People contact it by eating fish that feed on dead algae.
John:Why are the fish bred on dead algae and what has that got to do with Climate Change?
Uncle: Climate Change damages the corals and makes them toxic. Human beings get infected with Ciguatera when they catch and eat the fish that have been feeding on the toxic algae from the damaged corals.
John: Oh, I see.
Uncle: The Hantavirus I mentioned earlier, for instance, once existed mostly in woodlands and deserts all over the US, until many people in urban areas unwittingly welcomed their eventual death from the virus by making the rodents (carriers of the disease pathogenes) part of their urban and domestic environments. While it did not create any health problems for its host, humans got infected by the droppings, etc. of the carrier animals.
John: But why would anyone allow such a thing to happen to him?
Uncle: Nobody sees death coming and goes out to give it a hug. People sometimes contact rabies from their lovely dogs and even die from it. Similarly, many victims of the Hantavirus were taken in by the look of some lovely animals carrying it. That is how Hantavirus that used to be in woodlands and deserts found its way to Washington, DC, New York and many other places.
Uncle: But of course! The US public health officials and those of many West European countries know what they are doing when they keep warning people against indiscriminate interaction with animals. That is also why the US and European immigration authorities are very strict on the movement of animals.
John: But does this Hantavirus thing not have a cure?
Uncle: No really. A condition known as strabismus arises from it, for the very few who have been treated and who later survived. Some cannot walk a straight line thereafter; and have to even carry disability placard in public, because of.
Uncle: Yes! Then there is Lyme disease, which is transmitted through the bite of blacklegged ticks. It is said to be the most reported of all bug-borne diseases in the US. The blacklegged ticks are expanding northwards and the disease is expanding with it. The diagnosis is difficult, because it affects each person differently. It also mimics other physiological conditions. This is in addition to the fact that the infecting organism (sphirocyte) can change its form (like shape shifting) and hide in the body. It can also go dormant for years.
John: Oh no! What? This is Armageddon, alright!
Uncle: Today, this organism is known to have travelled across the American continent, all the way and north into Canada.
John: Since most of these Armageddon organisms have been around for as long as human beings can remember, why are they suddenly making a nuisance of themselves?
Uncle: It is because the judgment is here with us, John! In our continuous rampage in defiance of nature, we human created new opportunities for their expansion and survival. Some organisms that can only be active in winter, while others can only be very active during summer, got extended, lease of life due to global warming. This translates into damage that would have been avoided if the temperature and habitat had not changed.
John: Wow! So what is the way out?
Uncle: Look around you. Human beings no longer understand the laws of nature. They also do not live according to these laws. Since it is ignorance and disobedience that led us to where we are today, we also need the spiritual knowledge that will lead us from ignorance, from darkness to light and also guarantee sustainable existence in a new millennium that is not dominated by human intellectual knowledge.
*Dr. Ikechukwu, a former member of The Guardian Editorial Board, lives in Abuja.