From Famine to Pestilence

Since I solved world hunger the other day, today I will tackle the problem of disease.

First of all, I have a theory that germs (bacteria and viruses; prions seem to fit a different category) obey Darwinian rules similar to the rest of the world. That is, if you eliminate something, eventually something else will fill its niche in the environment. Think about the great advances in vaccination made in the last two centuries. We have practically eliminated polio and smallpox, and even less life-threatening illnesses such as the mumps and chicken pox. And what do we have to show for it? AIDS, Ebola, and countless flulike diseases from the Hanta Virus to West Nile. I believe that no matter how many diseases we effectively eliminate, more will take their place. Eventually we will either have to be vaccinated for hundreds of diseases, or we will have to stop vaccinating against those we assume we have eliminated, which opens the door for them to come back.

This is not a comforting thought.

I have a hypothetical solution to this problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, most germs can not exist for longer than 48 hours outside the body. Therefore, if everyone who was sick stayed home for the duration of their illness plus 48 hours, we could effectively eliminate, or at least seriously limit, such diseases as the common cold. Those who do need medical attention should check in to a hospital, or some other shelter designated for the purpose, and be similarly isolated. For those who must work in order for the economy not to collaps, bio-suits could be issued.

Think about it. In maybe 3 or 4 weeks (for non-chronic diseases, anyway) we could reduce occurences of illness enough that it would take years for any surviving diseases to spread again. It would be as effective as vaccination (meaning that some other diseases might develop), but without the needle. I would like to perform this experiment on a small scale, such as a relatively isolated town. I really think it would work.