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The Night Watch

7

The Incubator

(An Ongoing Saga by Steven R. Harrel)

(Taken from concepts found in “This Side of the Whirlwind”)

World News today: October 26th 2017

LA Times:

  • Mysterious Illness strikes West-Coast: Southern California Health Officials today reported a fifth victim fallen to what many are unofficially calling Jameson’s Disease.  The disease informally named after David Jameson, first victim to fall prey to this new pathogen, has been plaguing the greater Los Angeles area for more than three weeks.  Jameson’s swift prodromal period is followed by severe bloating, fever, fatigue, muscle pain and rapid muscular degeneration.  The last stages for Jameson’s has thus far produced high fever and a severe systemic type of hematidrosis: more commonly referred to as blood-sweats with patients bleeding through pores in their skin, out of their eyes, nose, ears and sometimes genitalia causing system wide hemorrhaging, acute blood loss and finally death.  “Frankly,” says one unnamed California health official, “We are baffled by the origin and evolution of this new disease.  Though Jameson’s tends to present with signs and symptoms similar to that of Ebola or Dengue Fever its co-morbidities are constantly changing, varied and enigmatic.  We are not yet certain what we’re dealing with from patient to patient.  More grave is the fact that this disease sprung up from nowhere and seems to have cropped up all over the world in just a few weeks.”

The Portugal News:

  • Portuguese Officials are baffled this week by a yet unidentified illness inundating the small island community of Troia, Portugal.  Portugal’s Hospital Nossa Senhora da Arrábida admitted numerous locals and tourists over the past few weeks with complaints mimicking those sick and dying on America’s West-Coast.  California’s Medical community is unofficially calling this sickness, Jameson’s Disease.  Just six weeks ago the Jameson’s Disease surfaced as an unknown pathogen in the Western United States and has since surged worldwide within the United States, Great Britain, Mexico, Japan, Australia and now Portugal.  To date, Jameson’s is collectively responsible for more than 70 infected and 30 fatalities.  Jameson’s presents with a short incubation period of two to five days followed by excessive bloating, fatigue, muscle stiffness and joint pain.  Most patients then experience high-fever followed by severe hemorrhaging throughout much of the patient’s body.  More than 50% of those admitted to Nossa Senhora da Arrábida have already succumbed to this mysterious illness.

San Francisco Post:

  • The field of Science and Paleontology lost a shining star today as Jameson’s Disease claims the life of yet another prominent California citizen.  Doctor Michael Spangler, 54 perished today at Portugal’s Hospital Nossa Senhora da Arrábida.  Dr. Spangler and his family were on vacation in Troia, Portugal visiting family and friends when Dr. Spangler was suddenly overcome by severe nausea and fatigue.  Twelve hours after admittance to Hospital Nossa Senhora da Arrábida, Dr. Spangler was pronounced dead by an official with the Department of  Infectious Diseases (DID).  Sadly Dr. Spangler leaves behind a wife of 31 years, Nancy Spangler and their three teenage children.  Purportedly Mrs. Spangler’s eldest child has also exhibited similar symptoms as her father and is currently under observation by the DID in Portugal’s Hospital Nossa Senhora da Arrábida.

West Coast Sentinel

  • Near Murphys Haystacks and the small town of Streaky Bay South Australia a bizarre illness has taken three of our Bay area residents.  The as yet unidentified sickness presents with dark boils, muscle and joint pain followed by severe bloating, fever and pervasive hemorrhaging.  The three Bay area residences appear to have contracted the mysterious disease within days of one another and were each overwhelmed by the illness after only a few hours.  Though Health Officials do not yet have answers to this seemingly spontaneous contagion they recommend the frequent washing of hands and limited exposure to other residents.  Public gatherings are discouraged until Health Officials have more information.  Furthermore, residents should remain indoors and in their homes as much as possible.  If you know of anyone suffering from these signs or symptoms please contact your local authorities and health officials.

New York Post

  • U.S. health officials on Wednesday, October 25th identified three cases of what was originally reported to be the deadly Ebola virus. One man and two women from the coastal city of Lobito, Angola, West Africa arrived in the United States early Wednesday seeking care for Ebola-like symptoms.  According to officials with the New York Center for Disease Control (CDC) early onset for each victim presented with similar symptoms and pathologies; however, within the first 48 hours two of the victims manifested Ebola-like symptoms while the third victim began to exhibit symptoms more consistent with Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.  A spokes-person with Brooklyn Hospital Center for Infectious Disease stated the victims were immediately administered blood tests to confirm diagnoses however blood-tests failed to confirm Ebola or any other known pathogen.  Updates will follow as more information is made available.  Officials with the CDC are continuing to conduct additional testing to identify the mystery strain and determine its threat level and virulence.

Doctor Joseph Marrow, prominent physician with New York’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) heads for his front door.

“Hey mister, aren’t you forgetting something?” Joan, Joe’s wife, sidles up to him.

“Oh yeah, sorry Honey, I guess my mind was a bit preoccupied.” Joe bends down dutifully pecking Joan on the cheek.  “I’ll see you after work, Sweetheart.” Joe smiles meekly as he turns away.

“Hey buster, that weak kiss ain’t gonna cut it.”  Joan rocks up on her toes, throws her arms around his neck and kisses Joe soundly on the tip of his nose.

With little to no response Joe once more turns towards the door.

A sharp slap to Joe’s butt grabs his attention, “You get home early stranger. We haven’t been spending enough time together of late.”

“Sounds like an invitation, you flirt!” Joe chuckles.

Joan just laughed while slapping Joe’s butt once more, “You could be right, Buster.”

On most occasions Joe would have smiled and reciprocated with an affectionate display all his own; unhappily, Joe’s thoughts were far away and gloomily affording him the barest congeniality.

Picking up on Joe’s cheerless estate, Joan asks, “Joseph, are you okay?”

“What?” Joe distantly responds.

“I’m asking if you’re okay.  You’ve been acting strange lately and rather out of sorts.  If there’s something up that you need to talk about… please give me a minute and tell me what’s going on.”

“Ah Sweetie, I don’t know if I want to bring this to your table; besides, I only have a few minutes before I’ll have to go.”

Joe’s need to share with Joan is so great he absentmindedly draws a file from his briefcase, sets the briefcase by the door and heads straight for their living room; their chatting place.

“I’ve wanted to share this with you for days but I just didn’t know where to start or what to say or how to say it so that things wouldn’t sound so terribly depressing.”  Joe opens the file he’s carrying and removes a letter. “Do you remember Buzz?”

Joan looks up and puzzles out a long unspoken but not forgotten name, “”Vaguely,” Joan says, “He was one of your old Med School buddies, right?”

“Yeah, Buzz. Anyways, he works for the CDC in California and sent me this letter a few days ago.”

Joe hands her the letter, “Buzz wrote me because he is terribly afraid.  It’s about that disease that’s been in the News, the one plaguing the West-Coast.  It’s been on the News five or ten times in just the past week.  You know, the disease that’s been  taking all those lives in California?”

“Yeah, Joe, I’ve read about it and seen it on TV.  Wow Honey, you really are worked up over this thing!” Concern colors Joan’s voice.

Joe continues, “That’s where Buzz is living now, Joan.  Right there in the midst of this”, Joe searches for the words, “Oh? Crisis or epidemic!”

“Okay, honey.” Joan waits for Joe to continue.

Joe starts gesturing with his hands, waving the file back and forth, “The things he’s saying are truly disturbing, Joan.  Here, read this!  Read this letter for yourself and then tell me what you think.”

Joan glances over the letter, “It can’t be all that bad, can it?”

Joan begins reading aloud:

Joe:

            I hope this letter finds you and Joan happy and healthy. I’m doing fine for now but I don’t know how long that might last.

I know this letter might seem somewhat hysterical or possibly even a little paranoid, but there are things taking place here at California’s CDC which might result in an epidemic.  Who knows, Joe, we may be looking at a pandemic if we’re not careful.  The only thing I know for sure is that something needs to be done before it’s too late.

Joe, there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking this new disease (Jameson’s) serious.  I am just flabbergasted!

I’ve shared my concerns with Corporate Heads and the Senior Leadership Teams here at the CDC but there doesn’t seem to be an appropriate response.  In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any response.

Corporate is responding to Jameson’s Disease as though it were a negligible threat.  Jameson’s RO is at least an 8 or possibly higher.  It is certainly more virulent than HIV.

I’m sharing this dilemma with you because you are the one person I know who has the authority to make a difference; leastwise, more than most.  So here are my concerns.

The upper West‑Side of LA is where I spend much of my time.  From West-LA to the coast you’ll find those swanky, artsy kind of establishments to which LA is famous.  The West-Side is where all the big brass has parties and lives the good life. Mission Park and Highland are just two blocks from my home and is swank central.

The other night I was invited to a party at Richard Dumas’ home, a big-wig in the Hollywood scene.  Richard is the ‘Go-To’ guy for Hollywood’s rich and famous.  Though it wasn’t the biggest party of the year there was well over one hundred people coming and going.  It was quite the partyer’s paradise.

As the party began to heat up a well-known social up and comer, Tom Paris, arrived.  He moved through the crowd appearing perfectly happy and healthy.

Tom is one of those fashion designers slash interior decorator types who makes his living meeting the private needs of the rich and famous.

At any rate, I just happened to notice that Tom looked healthy.  He was laughing and joking and making himself the life of the party.  I didn’t witness any behavior which might suggest Mr. Paris was ill; which is the point for bringing him up.

According to an EMT’s PCR (Emergency Medical Technician’s – Detailed Patients’ Care Report) the following morning, Tom’s fingers still clutched the receiver of his buzzing phone when Paramedics arrived on scene.  Somehow, between the time Tom left the party – around 2 a.m. – and the time Paramedics arrived on scene – 4:35 a.m. – Tom went from a normal looking slender 170 lb. male to a severely bloated and dehisced corpse.

The scene was so graphically disturbing even the seasoned Paramedics stood outside refusing to re-enter Tom’s home.

By the time I arrived, about an hour later, Tom’s body was still oozing and dehiscing and exuding bio-matter rather disturbingly.  Though it was still early in the morning, flies swarmed Tom’s remains extensively; which of course portends the spreading of diseased particulate matter far and wide.

You should know the death of Tom Paris is not my primary concern.  Rather, Tom’s death is merely one of five, the fifth in a series of similar deaths which the CDC has reported as unremarkable.

Unremarkable!  Can you believe that?

Because of this minimalized label on Jameson’s, LA’s First-Responders are arriving on similar scenes in potentially deadly and infectious arenas without the slightest awareness or consideration for the disease’s virulence.

Why would the CDC do such a thing?  The CDC has not flagged even one of these cases as a Category A pathogen!

At any rate, Joe, once the Paramedics fled the scene a Bio-hazard Containment Team was called in.

Here’s something which was not too unusual: once the Bio‑team was in place and doing their assessment and cleanup, the Paramedics were debriefed by a Senior Fire-Chief (one I didn’t know) and sent on their merry little way.

Paramedics were instructed to keep their mouths shut; hush-hush as it were.  A short time later I was called back in to do my evaluation and I too was told to keep a tight lip on Jameson’s and anything to do with these cases.

I’ll pop this letter off to you now and will hopefully send more info as things continue to develop.

Please look and see on your end what the CDC is planning to do regarding Jameson’s.

Thanks much, Joe.  Say hi to Joan and God bless.

Dr. Buzzard Richards

(Watch for the continuing Saga!)