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Wednesday, November 02, 2005 

Bird flu not the only threat this year...

CDC Tracking "Nerd Flu" Outbreak

ATLANTA, Georgia - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement today on their progress in understanding what has been called "nerd flu". The illness strikes mostly young, pale, socially-backward men between eighteen and twenty-six years of age. The onset is marked by calling in sick, not answering the phone, and not answering the doorbell. After the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours, the subject will exhibit redness in the eyes and experience stiff and aching hands and fingers. "We got our break when the video game Mafia was released on the Playstation 2. It was only a hunch, but we started watching. Sure enough, the day after it was released, we started getting reports in," said Julie L. Gerberding, Director of the CDC.

"I knew something was wrong with these guys," said Martin Hatchwether, owner of PC ToGo. "You're never surprised when somebody calls in 'sick' on Monday, but I'd get five guys call in on the same Wednesday, then a month or two later, they'd be out on a Tuesday. Same guys, same day. Weird. But it makes sense now."

One gamer who only gave the name NightTredder admitted, "Sure, if I get a new game, you can pretty much count on me to hole up for a few days until I beat it. You lose too much of the immersive thing if you break your play up."

"We don't want to jump to conclusions," warned Gerberding, "but the data is pretty clear. We're waiting for the release of Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. If we get a slew of reports on or around the 18th, I think we can put this one to bed."
Maybe I'm getting too old. My definition of "nerds" isn't so much video game junkies, but people who would sit around and build their own video games from scratch.

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About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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