- By: Samena Chaudhry
Recently many of us watched the fictional BBC account of a smallpox pandemic in which 60 million people died; the virus was unleashed deliberately by a terrorist, causing civil unrest and economic collapse as it spread across the globe.
The uncontrolled epidemic was caused by doctors not recognising the disease and officials not acting fast enough. Imagine a repeat of the black death of the middle ages: Bleak Midwinter is exactly that.
Two weeks before Christmas, Rajiv Mahendra, a trainee doctor at Oxfords John Radcliffe Hospital, encounters a patient with rare symptoms. The swellings around the mans groin and armpit are like “evil, purplish black eggs,” and his cough is “sharp and hacking” and splatters the bed sheets bright red with blood. To the young Indian doctor, these symptoms are sinisterly familiar. In India, the disease is known as the bubonic plague. The last time it occurred on a large