Dude! What a shitty garbage year this has been. I mean, pretty much every year in the history of years has been a shitty garbage year — "happiness" is really just a euphemism for "successful garbage mitigation" — but 2012 has been particularly gross in a lot of ways. Half the country thinks rape is hilarious. Republicans aren't so sure it exists. People are eating other people. The only place that isn't suffering a horrible drought is bracing for a horrible hurricane. All the other terrifying stuff Republicans think. And Phyllis Diller died!
But that's okay, because nature's picking up the slack to put us out of our misery. Heads up: you're about to die of hella diseases.* Here a guide to the bugs currently breakin' out all over.
Dengue Fever a.k.a. Breakbone Fever a.k.a. "NO THANKS."
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Transmitted through: Mosquitoes a.k.a. nature's Republicans (JK, guys!!!**).
Prevention tips: Wear bug spray, avoid Texas, don't wallow in pools of fetid standing water.
Measles a.k.a. Morbilli, a.k.a. "They Still Have That?"
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a generalized, maculopapular, erythematous rash.
Transmitted through: Coughing, sneezing, Frenching.
Where: Everywhere except America. FOR NOW.
Prevention tips: Don't eat other people's secretions, wash your hands, vaccinate your fucking kids.
Legionnaires' Disease a.k.a. Legionellosis a.k.a. "Way Less Glamorous Than It Sounds."
Transmitted through: Legionella bacteria, usually airborne and aerosolized in poorly ventilated areas.
Prevention tips: Stay out of slimy hot tubs, stagnant ponds, industrial cooling towers, humid prisons, and, apparently, the JW Marriott Chicago Hotel (for the record, the Chicago Department of Public Health says they've got the problem all cleared up).
Whooping Cough a.k.a. Pertussis a.k.a. "Vaccinate Your Fucking Kids."
The classic signs of pertussis are a paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop, and vomiting after coughing. The cough from pertussis has been documented to cause subconjunctival hemorrhages, rib fractures, urinary incontinence, hernias, post-cough fainting, and vertebral artery dissection.
Transmitted through: Not vaccinating your fucking kids.
Where: Washington state.
Prevention tips: VACCINATE YOUR FUCKING KIDS.
West Nile Virus a.k.a. "Seriously, Fuck Mosquitoes."
Symptoms may include may fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle pain or aches, malaise, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, myalgias and rash. The most severe cases result in neurologic disease when the central nervous system is affected.
Transmitted through: Mosquitoes, AGAIN.
Prevention tips: I don't know. Some sort of Bubble Boy situation? Some sort of Bubble Boy situation is the only way.
Flesh-Eating Bacteria a.k.a. Necrotizing Fasciitis a.k.a. HORK HORK HOOOOORK.
Transmitted through: Getting bacteria in your flesh.
Where: Oh, all over the place.
Prevention tips: Don't cut yourself on gross shit. Also, take all your antibiotics until they are gone, even if your flesh seems like it's all cool.
Syphilis a.k.a. The Great Pox a.k.a. "The Hitler-Maker."
The primary stage classically presents with a single chancre (a firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulceration), secondary syphilis with a diffuse rash which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, latent syphilis with little to no symptoms, and tertiary syphilis with gummas, neurological, or cardiac symptoms. It has, however, been known as "the great imitator" due to its frequent atypical presentations.
Transmitted through: Come on, guys. We're all grown-ups here.
Where: California, Canada.
Prevention tips: Condoms, STI screenings, don't have sex with this guy.
Ebola a.k.a. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever a.k.a. "Dustin Hoffman's Lament."
EVD begins with a sudden onset of an influenza-like stage characterized by general malaise, fever with chills, arthralgia and myalgia, and chest pain. Nausea is accompanied by abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhea, and vomiting...Contrary to popular belief, hemorrhage does not lead to hypovolemia and is not the cause of death (total blood loss is low except during labor). Instead, death occurs due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
Transmitted through: Bat bites! (Maybe.) Touching infected animals, living or dead. Contact with infected human secretions. Monkey-smuggling.
Where: Western Uganda.
Prevention tips: Um...wash your hands? Run from bats. If you're not currently in Western Uganda, don't travel to Western Uganda. Or, if you do, wash your hands.
Pig Flu a.k.a. Swine Influenza Virus a.k.a. "Aporkalypse Now."
Symptoms of zoonotic swine flu in humans are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.
Transmitted through: Pigs.
Prevention tips: Wash your hands, quit huffing hog fumes, don't eat your funnel cake in the livestock barn.
Cholera a.k.a. "The Blue Death" a.k.a. "Plague in the Guts" a.k.a. "Cholera? I Just Met-'er! Uh."
The primary symptoms of cholera are profuse, painless diarrhea and vomiting of clear fluid. These symptoms usually start suddenly, one to five days after ingestion of the bacteria. The diarrhea is frequently described as "rice water" in nature and may have a fishy odor. An untreated person with cholera may produce 10–20 litres of diarrhea a day with fatal results.
Transmitted through: Poop. Poop in your food, poop in your water, poop in your mouth.
Where: Cuba, where 417 have been infected and 3 have died.
Prevention tips: If you're in a place with questionable sewage management and water quality, sterilize all your water. Also there's a vaccine. Also you could support international aid agencies that provide water purification systems in developing countries! Seeing as it's completely embarrassing that poopwater is still a major problem in a world where we have iPads.
Antibiotic-Resistant "Superbugs" a.k.a. "Really Funny Clark Kent Pun That I Failed to Come Up With in Time for My Deadline" a.k.a. "Mother Brain."
Transmitted through: ???????
Prevention tips: ?????????????????????????
Prognosis: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE. Oh well. What else is new.
* Obviously we know that diseases are happening everywhere all the time. But all these health notices on top of all of 2012's other bullshit has pushed us past our grimness tipping point.