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Croatoan Pandemic? Report by the Winchester Family Biz Gazette
 
 
Staff escaping the Niveus warehouse a couple of months ago back have reported, in shock, about colleagues turning into bloodthirsty beasts. The WFB Gazette's Jaspala Wesson spoke to the survivors and dug deeper into the mystery of a behaviour some doctors have come to call 'the Croatoan Phenomenon'.
 
After being saved by a group of mysterious, armed men the Niveus personnel deemed to be safe - but are now haunted by nightmares and PTSD symptoms and the notion that not all infected had been eliminated.
 
If the fears of the Niveus staff hold any truth, thousands, if not millions of citizens may be infected with this strange new virus, CDC executives stated last week, acknowledging that the world could be on track for a pandemic. The virus linked to the disappearance of the citizens of Rivergrove, Oregon, has surfaced in Kansas and Chicago, but - so far - been successfully isolated. In its wake, the World Health Organization raised its alert, but issued orders to keep it strictly under public radar to not provoke panic.
 
The heightened alert came after the discovery of a significant viral depot at Niveus Pharmaceutics, hidden in swine flu vaccine as cover. Authorities began classified investigations to disclose the groups responsible. Suspicions of a terrorism act were quickly raised as such quantities as were found clearly indicate that the nation barely escaped an attack with the chemo-biological weapon this virus undoubtedly was intended to be.
 
Amanda Lee, once MD at a small Oregon clinic, today works on finding out more about this new strain of threat as head doctor of a top secret department of the CDC.  Jaspala Wesson met with Dr Lee who had devoted years of her life to studying a once unknown viral strain today known as the 'rage' virus or, after a name found in the small Oregon town, 'Croatoan'.
 
The call for secrecy will be lifted in a few weeks, as it is announced, and every household is to receive information via television in the course of several months, starting on Sept 24th.
 
Thus Lee agreed to speak about Croatoan in order to try to prevent the panic she fears will ensue. Also, she says, she owes it to a couple of young U.S. Marshals who saved her about three years ago, hoping that her thanks would reach the gentlemen. Also, one of them might be vital to her research. 'I welcome this opportunity.'
 
‘The virus has not managed to go airborne', Lee states, 'nor cross-species. So far it only affects human beings. It's up to you to decide whether you like this or not.'
 
'If you measure the success of a life form by its quantity', Lee continues, 'then there is one clear winner: the virus. No other life form can be found more often, anywhere. If a virus was of the size of a grain of sand, all known viruses would cover the complete surface of our planet with a layer up to 13 miles thick.'
 
Impressive.
 
Since the discovery of the first viruses in the late nineteenth century, millions of different types of viruses have been described, to be found in almost every ecosystem on earth.
 
Scientists assume that the origins of viruses are to be found more than 3, 5 billion years ago, even before there were cells as we know them today. During that age a preliminary stage of life existed, consisting of certain genetic molecules, that was capable of doubling itself by attaching new molecular elements - with those molecules that were most efficiently capable of producing copies being successful.
 
At the threshold to becoming some sort of living being doubling processes were not perfect, yet, so mutations occurred, most of which dying out.

Some managed to exploit this weakness and use other molecules to double themselves at the other molecules expense - bringing to life the first ever parasites, the viruses, even before life as we think of it came into existence. Later, viruses adapted and took cells as hosts, surrounding themselves with a protective protein coat that allowed them to attach themselves to cells.
 
Shortly after the first molecules of life had begun to exist, evolution allowed the virus to exploit others, a very successful principle altogether. This, however, is a scientific hypothesis, as viruses don't form fossils, so, unfortunately, most viruses that have been preserved and stored in laboratories are less than 100 years old. Opinions differ on whether viruses are a form of life or organic structures that interact with living organisms, reproducing multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly.
 
'The phenomenon of Croatoan,' Dr Lee declares, 'leads us to assume, for the first time ever in the history of medical science, this virus might have developed some sort of planning structures, as its actions cannot be compared to those of other viruses. It's more aggressive, more elusive than any other I've ever seen. If I wasn't a scientist, I'd say, this virus was almost supernatural.'
 
Viruses do not have their own metabolism and require a host cell to reproduce. Most known life forms use cell division to reproduce, whereas viruses assemble within cells in a spontaneous manner. As they don't possess any kind of driving power they rely on sheer luck to enter a host organism. An influenza virus travels into another organism via mucous membrane. Dengue viruses enter the victim’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of animals, mostly by a bite. HIV mainly enters a body through body fluids, often via sexual intercourse. None of these parasites, however, is capable of overcoming healthy, intact skin.
 
Lee assumes that 'the Croatoan virus is a neurotropic virus, much like the rabies virus. Except that it carries sulphur with it that disappears after a period of about eight hours. The early stages I encountered in Oregon needed a few hours of incubation time. The new forms we discovered in the dead bodies found at Nucleus Pharmaceutics took a mere five to six seconds. I've never seen anything so aggressive.'
 
‘From the wound of entry, the Croatoan virus travels rapidly along the neural pathways to the central nervous system, the CNS. From there it spreads to other organs. The salivary glands in mouth and cheek tissue quickly contain high concentrations of the virus as does the nasal mucus, any kind of sputum and the blood system in general, thus allowing it to be further transmitted in an efficient manner.’
 
Scientists have not been able, yet, to follow the course of Croatoan to the host’s death, so they claim, due to no infected survivors, but assumptions are made to the following: that the virus eventually causes death, with symptoms comparable to those of other illnesses including fever, general weakness, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, ravenous hunger for raw meat, increase in saliva, difficulty in swallowing, hydrophobia (fear of water), occasional bleeding from orifices, in particular from the eyes, aggression.

Comments  

elle2
# elle2 2010-08-01 20:21
Ah, my dear, Jaspala - erh, Jasminka (love the combo and choice of last names...who is the Smith to your Wesson?)

This was a fun hypothetical, pseudo fanfiction endeavor you embarked upon.

Crisply written with a flow from beginning to end that kept me engaged. I like how you had fun with Croatoan as well as brought back in Dr. Amanda Lee...I liked that doctor, another strong woman that helped and was helped by the Winchesters.

We're fast approaching the sixth season, no idea if Croatoan will ooze its way into the overall arc but it was fun while we had it. I still love that ep by the same name.

Thanks for writing
EllieMurasaki
# EllieMurasaki 2010-08-01 21:33
*cough* it's Niveus, not Nucleus.

How long's it gonna take before somebody connects the Sam Dr. Lee's looking for with the Sam reported dead in Monument, Colorado?
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-08-01 23:19
Jaspala Wesson, intrepid reporter! :D

That was really fun, liebes, and very informative, too. Viruses are scary suckers. I remember seeing the pictures of them in biology textbooks. They're really nasty looking, and they almost look - dare I say it - alien. Or supernatural!

I also like the idea of Sam being hunted for his blood because that just makes sense. If there was an outbreak, he would be a perfect source for a vaccine. I sure wouldn't trust Niveus!

Thanks for writing this.

Flamey
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-02 03:22
Hello Elle2, EllieMurasaki and Ardeospina, thank you so much for commenting, ladies!

Elle2, I think it would be Wesson,S.&Wesso n,J., ahem…
I am happy that you liked this, it’s always a great feeling to know someone read and liked what I wrote. Thank you.

EllieMurasaki – * blushes * ooops, how could that happen? So embarrassed… Thank you for pointing out that major mistake, of course it’s Niveus… I guess I was reading too much about the nucleus of a cell… * blushes some more *
And – who knows? Sometimes federal institutions are just blind, don’t you think?

Flamey, it was fun becoming a reporter for a short while. And viruses are really fascinating… could be a sick fascination of horror in my case, but I think the more you know about your enemy, the better you can – perhaps – find a defense. Not that I would ever deem to be able to defeat these nasty suckers. But I highly admire people who devote their lives to doing exactly that.

Thank you! Jas ;-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-08-02 09:41
GREAT FUN Jas!!! Do more!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-08-02 10:35
Hey Jas - love this article. Very cool. Love it how Dr. Lee was woven back into this story. Down the road, should a follow-up article ever occur, wouldn't it be cool if the people at Niveus and Dr Lee discovered that one of the mysterious armed men helping those employees at Niveus was indeed the "Sam" that Dr. Lee is looking for? Would be a fun discovery.
Julie
# Julie 2010-08-02 13:49
Aww Jas , you are so like your boy, you both love your research. Dont think the history of the virus would be my choice for a little light reading but it sure made for a fascinating and also scary article.
I loved that Dr Amanda Lee resurfaced here, you know Croatoan has always been one of my favourite episodes and I revisit it often.
It`s an interesting thought that the virus might return cant wait to find out if it does.
Please also pass on my thanks and congratulations to Jaspala Wesson,hope she graces us with her work again sometime.
Elena M
# Elena M 2010-08-02 20:44
Lois Lane is having jealous fits--Hats off & a Pulitzer to the intrepid Jaspala Wesson! :D
Karen
# Karen 2010-08-03 07:45
Hi Jasminka
This was great!
Jaspala Wesson (love the name btw) certainly did some major research. Lets hope they are able to find this ‘Sam’ and produce a cure. I would hate to see this particular virus at my doorstep.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-03 10:10
Sablegreen, Dany, Evelyn, Julie, ElenaM and Karen, wow, thanks for reading this!

Sablegreen- thank you so much, happy you enjoyed this! Perhaps Jaspala Wesson can become a recurring character…

Dany, biology rocks, don’t you think?! Great idea – a demon in the hands of the good doctor… Oh, I feel Frankenstein come along….

Evelyn, I love your idea of the discovery of ‘the’ Sam… I will think it over and perhaps a follow-up will occur (praying that the writers of the show will get there, too… ahem)

Ju, indeed, I love research and learning. I kinda stumbled on the virus books and couldn’t put them away. I will of course pass on your wishes to Jaspala (perhaps I should get myself a t-shirt saying ‘I’m schizophrenic†™ on the front and ‘Me, too’ on the back)

ElenaM – Lois Lane? ‘the’ Lois Lane? Well, learning from the best… thank you, dear

Karen, don’t worry, this virus won’t stop over… I have a feeling that some secret compartments are doing their best…

This was fun to write and it’s so great that you enjoyed reading this, ladies. Thank you, Jas
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-03 10:11
Alice, thanks so much for correcting my Niveus-lapse!! Much obliged to my editor in chief! Have I told you lately that you rock? Three cheers to you! Jas :-)
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2010-08-03 15:05
Dear Jaspala Wesson,

thanks for informing the world about that new threat. Seems it was kept under a huge blanket by the people responsible.

I am sure looking forward to more revealing articles since you seemed to be the best informed researcher out there. Can't you do like a weekly column?

Sincerely yours

Yirabah
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2010-08-03 17:57
Good job on the reporting there, Jaspala!
Viruses are scary little buggers. I see enough of them in the animals I treat. Rabies scares me, & I've had to submit brain tissue several times over the years to test for it (& I'm not going to describe how I have to collect that tissue for testing...ugh!) but thankfully I've never had a positive case. Your description of its symptoms is accurate. The Croatoan virus would be a thousand times worse!
I like how you brought Dr. Lee back into the story. I hope that the 6th season does include mention of the virus again & it would be interesting to see how Sam would handle the situation!
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-08-06 13:26
Wow, Jas, first I thought this would be a funny article, and then I actually learned something! Loved it! Loved how you brought back Dr. Lee, and the idea of a nationwide search for Sam. Hope the writers read this, this would make a great story arc ... maybe for season 7? ;-)
All the best to Jaspala :-)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-08-07 17:28
Yirabah, BagginsDVM and Freebird, I'm a tad late in responding to your kind comments, forgive me :o

Yirabah, I am immensely flattered by your suggestion and I can assure you that Jaspala Wesson will return. She just doesn't now yet how... ;-)

Dawn, oh, I'm glad that I got that right. Thank you. I can imagine how it feels to take tissue and do your thing with it, I was an intern at a MS unit, once... we didn't do brain sections, but lumbal punctures. That was nasty. Not going into details, here.

Lara, well, perhaps, if Fortuna smiles at me, the writers will find this and make up a story about Croatoan again? Ah, a girl can dream....

Thank you all, I will pass on your greetings to Jaspala. She's on some expedition, I think.
Love Jas