News item: An editorial in The Canadian Medical Association Journal states that Canada is the worst prepared of the developed countries to deal with the next pandemic.
Ottawa has been hit hard by a highly contagious strain of influenza called the Couillard Flu. Medical experts fear this may be the long-awaited pandemic. If so, it appears the government has failed to take adequate measures to protect itself from this new bug.
"This Couillard strain appears to be very dangerous," said Canada’s Chief Medical Office Dr. Seymour Butts. "If you have any contact with the virus, you will quickly become infected and, within 48 to 72 hours, almost certainly lose your job."
Although the new flu strain (also known as the Biker Flu) is highly toxic, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection. The Chief Medical Officer is urging those in government to wash their hands and their money frequently and to avoid any insecure intimate personal contact. They are further advised not to leave any personal effects or papers lying about which could lead to rapid exposure.
"If you suspect you may have been exposed to the Couillard virus," said Dr. Butts. "Seek immediate political attention and do not speak to or associate with any MPs, cabinet members or senior officials."
The Couillard strain is so strong that virtually everyone who comes in contact with it will suffer severe consequences. Once it infects the patient, the course of the disease is rapid and certain.
"Initially there is a tendency for those exposed to Couillard to deny that they have been in contact with the virus," said Dr. Butts. "But when faced with the evidence of their condition, they eventually accept the inevitable."
Epidemiologists fear that the Couillard Flu may rival the Spanish Influenza of ninety years ago. Even young, healthy bureaucrats are not immune although, to date, it has only struck down males.
"The fear is that this strain may be as bad as the Munsinger Flu of fifty years ago," said Dr. Butts. "And that it may rapidly spread and bring down the entire government."
At first the Couillard Flu appeared to be restricted to senior government cabinet ministers. But now it has also spread to the executive ranks of the bureaucracy and threatens to infect the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister Harper has urged Ottawa’s medical community to come up with a vaccination to counter this new deadly pandemic. So far, experts have been unsuccessful in doing so although they have made some progress in identifying those who have immunity.
"We are encouraged to note that large segments of the Ottawa community apparently remain uninfected," said Canada’s Chief Medical Officer. "Including those who do not form the government and those who have ethical standards and a high resistance to undue influence."
"Whatever the course of this new pandemic, two things are certain," said Dr. Butts. "It will run its course and it will eventually happen again."