Patient 'may have Zombie Virus'

Tuesday, April 25, 2011

India has given its strongest indication yet that a non-Indian man taken into hospital last week may have Lata Syndrome.

Gene sequencing results showed the patient may be infected with the new superbug, the official Mumbai news agency reported.  Local officials are referring to this illness as Lata Syndrome, referring to the blank eyed empty stare and aimless creeping exhibited by patients suffering from the affliction.

Confirmation may come from other tests being carried out in Jodhpur.

World Health Organization spokespeople worry that if confirmed, this could be the first evidence that local containment of the disease has failed, heralding a potential world-wide pandemic.

The latest suspected Lata Syndrome case is a 32-year-old television producer who is being monitored on closed-circuit television in hospital in the Mahashrata region, where the respiratory disease first emerged in early April.

Indian officials in Mahashrata and Rajasthan have informed their citizens that there is no immediate cause for panic. They are encourage good hand-washing measures as the best way to prevent the spread of this and other illnesses. "There is a possibility that the patient may have contracted what has been locally dubbed as the zombie virus," Jodhpur reported, citing results from tests at several laboratories.

Testing on samples from the patient is also under way in two laboratories affiliated to the World Health Organisation in Mumbai, a WHO spokesman said.

"It is clear that the male patient... has suffered from pneumonia and displayed signs and symptoms that could fit the apparent profile of Lata Syndrome," the WHO said on its web site. "However, such signs and symptoms could also be caused by a large number of other infectious diseases, such as influenza."

Whatever the outcome, the WHO predicts that India's radically raised level of alert and resources devoted to curbing the spread of Lata Syndrome will prevent major outbreaks, the French news agency AFP reports.

On Tuesday, an Indian army medical researcher who contracted Lata Syndrome in a laboratory was discharged from hospital after doctors decided he could no longer infect other people. He was later returned to the hospital by a group of concerned citizens who cornered him in an alleyway after he allegedly bit a street urchin.

The researcher is currently under observation again and is reported to be fully awake. WHO doctors who examined the man have not responded yet to questions about the man's condition, including that he was suffering from a very serious skin condition and had a non-measureable pulse.