Definitely Panic Over This Deadly New Mystery Illness

Illustration for article titled Definitely Panic Over This Deadly New Mystery Illness
Image: AP

A couple vacationing in Fiji mysteriously died two days apart of a disease neither the CDC or the World Health Organization can identify, and this is precisely the news story being read on television in the opening scenes of a post-apocalyptic movie just before the montage of vomiting children, rioters smashing bricks through hospital windows, and military in hazmat suits burning bodies in the street. I thought it was going to be drug-resistant fungus, but I thought wrong.

Michelle and David Paul became very ill shortly arriving in Fiji on May 22, texting family back in the States that they had food poisoning-like symptoms:

“‘We are both going to doctor now,’” Michelle Paul, 35, texted her parents, who live in Nevada, soon after she and her husband arrived in Fiji. “‘We have been throwing up for 8 hours. Dave has diarrhea. My hands are numb. We will text when we can.’”


After being treated with anti-nausea meds and discharged from a local clinic, Michelle died on May 25, her husband two days later, and currently, no scientist in the world knows why, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Both organizations are working together to test blood samples but are stumped. Meanwhile, the healthcare workers who treated the couple have been quarantined and can’t have any visitors.

As a doctor of books who has read The Stand twice, I would like to offer my professional counsel, free of charge: Everyone freak the fuck out about this.

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David A. Gray

The Stand! That wonderful, terrifying book has haunted me for decades. The scene (I don’t think you can have a spoiler for a book that was written 40 years ago, but still, stop right here if you’re eagerly looking at a new copy and thinking “what COULD this be about?” ...) where the car the infected lab worker and his family flee in, rolls to a halt at a gas station and someone opens the door is bowel loosening.