Crowded, dirty, living conditions and poor sanitation:
This sounds like Occupy Wall Street, does it not?
It's not! This is the description of the conditions that helped spread both the bubonic plague of the 1300’s and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
Make shift hospital caring for 1918 influenza victims ==>
<==Dinner Hour on the docks in Jacksonville, Florida. Unsanitary conditions and a lack of understanding of how the disease was transmitted contributed to the spread of influenza. [Credit: The Library of Congress]
Days after Philadelphia’s Liberty Loan parade in September 1918, which was attended by 200,000 people, hundreds of cases of influenza were reported. [Credit: Naval Historical Center]
And these are the conditions (or worse) that the OWS protesters are living in.
Conditions ripe for bacterial or viral infections to take hold and spread. Most infections that become epidemic spread through droplets from person to person. That is, a person coughs or sneezes and the infection laden droplets are spread in the air to the next person. Infections spread more rapidly in crowded conditions. These people are also not living in sanitary conditions. Some are urinating and defecating in the park (and other places). Hand washing is practically non-existent. Trash is piled up; a prime breeding ground for bacteria, and possibly rodents who can also help spread infection. With cooler weather upon us, the occupiers will most likely be huddling even closer together. All it takes is one person infected to start the chain reaction. Diseases can spread, infecting the entire population before it is know there even is an infection.
Diseases that can spread quickly include: influenza, cholera, meningitis, E. Coli, typhus, diphtheria, and meningococcal disease to name a few.
“In the midst of perfect health, in a circumscribed community... the first case of influenza would occur, and then within the next few hours or days a large proportion- and occasionally every single individual of that community- would be stricken down with the same type of febrile illness, the rate of spread from one to another being remarkable... Barrack rooms which the day before had been full of bustle and life, would now converted wholesale into one great sick room, the number of sick developing so rapidly that hospitals were within a day or two so overfull that fresh admissions were impossible.”
-Dr. Herbert French to the British Ministry of Health on the 1918 Influenza outbreak
If the protesters don’t end Occupy Wall Street soon, it will most likely be ended for them. Death of protesters means death of the movement. The protesters will leave, taken away on stretchers or body bags. Taken down not by the police, or the cold, or by desertion of the bored whiners, but by a twinkle of an organisim and results could be as devastating as the bubonic plague or the influenza pandemic of 1918. This would be the literal death of the movement.