Andrew Sullivan just had SARS

In 1968, a Jamaican band called The Ethiopians recorded a song named Hong Kong Flu:

"Hong Kong flu, Hong Kong flu
It's a killer, it's a killer"

Hong Kong flu was a bug that was going around the Caribbean, a very serious strain of influenza that was often deadly. Origin of the disease: southern China.

Southern China has always produced nasty cold and flu viruses. Southern China: too little land, too much livestock, too many people who eat too many strange animals, and a climate that various life forms find extremely convivial.

Last winter there were a lot of nasty viruses about in China. In Beijing, I was sick twice with a bad cold, or whatever you call a disease that turns you into a pain zombie and then knocks you flat for several days. And then there was SARS, the famous bug from southern China. For more than 90% of the people who got it, SARS was a disease that turned you into a pain zombie and then knocked you flat for several days.

This winter I have not had a cold yet. I have many vices and get my oxygen by breathing in the subzero cocktail of dust and fumes they call air in Beijing, so it's not because of healthy living. Far fewer people around me have been sick than at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, somewhere on the east coast of the USA, one Andrew Sullivan (political commentator, writer and blogger) reports the following symptoms:

"PLANET FLU: Man, this is brutal. I can't remember a worse bout. Now I know what everyone was going on about earlier this winter. I had one of those day-nights when you don't seem to be sleeping but you also don't seem to be awake. In bed, I get drenched every two hours. Out of bed, I get the chills. Thanks for your many emails. Is this a new genre: flu-blogging?"

A little later, he writes:

"FEELING BETTER: The night-sweats are gone. All I need now are my lungs back."

That's exactly how I felt last winter.

Andrew Sullivan is not alone. One of his readers reports:

"Dude, I’m 53 and this is the sickest I have ever been in my life. I’m in my 7th day and just starting to feel a bit better. I live alone and had to have everything: box of tissues, jug of water, TV remote (not that I had a clue what was on, I was semi-delirious for 2 days, sat up in my bed and thought I was sitting at my computer at work (then I woke up hours later on the floor) but I digress, had to have everything in the bed cause I could not even make it to my nightstand on the other side of the bed. I got 2 hours at work Wednesday and they sent me home, and 2 hours in today wanted to make sure they signed my time sheet, I'm a contract worker so I'm screwed next payday!
Funny thing; friends and family would call and ask if I needed anything. So from time to time they'd arrive at my door with a few bottles of ginger ale or some such and I'd be yelling "leave it and go", not wanting to contaminate them. It started sounding funny, I began to feel like a hideous character in a Poe novel "leave it and be on your way!! You'll not see me in my shame!!!!". Like I said, I'm semi-delirious.
I know the feeling."

Well, I know the feeling too, and that's because y'all got whatever I had last winter! SARS, or a strain of one of the many nasty viruses southern China produced in 2003 that have mutated their way across the Pacific.

Andrew Sullivan's flu blogging is here and here.

Below is an edited version of the results you get when you do a google search on the terms 'flu blog':

Several days ago at one of the facilities in which I work, a five year old died from the flu.

Gavin's Blog: flu
So I thought I was getting better, but it was really the flu taking

Un blog sur Flu ? News de Flu
Un blog sur Flu ? ... Ces conditions suffisent pour postuler comme contributeur volontaire du nouveau flu-blog.

I thought i would never have to say this, but I have the flu!

December 14, 2003. flu. Gabriel woke up with a fever this morning. Vague notions of deadly flus rampant across the country.

December 10, 2003. Flu Battle Update.
Attack of the flu/cold/sinus something or other. Posted by EvilCable at 09:50 AM.

Donna's Blog
Get the flu shot, if only to keep from spreading it to others who may not be as young and healthy as you are.

The Flu Epidemic of 2003
The news is consumed with the flu virus.

Blog Entry "flu" from IA? EH.
I came down with the flu on Saturday morning, and was recovered by Monday night.

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