Note: At the barn this Saturday, I overheard people talking about odd behavioral and body changes, as well as an increased desire for a food they ordinarily dislike. Since these fit my exact symptoms, I thought I’d do some research. Shockingly, I found out about a little known virus and put together a public health bulletin for all barn attendees. (On a personal note, you will be relieved to know what I have is viral, and most likely you will not be bored to death by it on this blog in the future.)
MMV1 is NOT transmittable to horses: they are immune.
The virus seems to transmit only from the original vector, person to person, or the occasional sneaky dog. At the moment, the virus seems to be cropping up only in the human barn population.
MMV1 is a rare form of human virus that ran rampant through government offices in the 1980’s and 90’s: apparently resurfacing from a 1950’s outbreak thought to have been eradicated. Originally MMV1 was thought to have been primarily a “street-contact” virus, due to the disproportionate number of firefighters and police officers who became infected. Previously the relatively benign disease decimated these populations with it’s tell-tale signature of infection, a hugely distended belly known colloquially as “Officer Gut”.
Coincidentally, a steep decline in new infections was noticed when public officers began shunning bakeries in favor of Starbucks.
With the advent of this apparent remission, the government Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to track down the elusive vector of the monosaccharidae mosaic virus: the donut.
Recently, this virus has been making inroads into the human populations of several public barns. Most notably California, Texas, Colorado, and a currently isolated incident in upstate New York.
Who is at Risk:
Those in wet or cold climates appear to be more at risk than those in dry and warm climates. Especially risky are days that are actually cold and wet. Barn populations with large Saturday owner/rider turnout appear to be most at risk. (Home barns appear to be less at risk, if outside contact with other barns is limited.)
Note: Transmission of the virus is impossible as long as the casing remains intact. The vector is commonly enclosed in a solid (non-opaque), square paperboard container: usually of a dark Pepto-Bismal pink color – but has been known to appear in brown paper bags or white paperboard containers as well. You are at no risk of contracting the virus by contact with the casing. Casing contact is a cause for caution only if casing is unsealed. Openings are large and quite visible, so there is no cause for alarm as long as you cannot see the darkened interior of the casing.
Inoculation is strongly recommended, and appears to mitigate the risk of infection by about 90%. The FDA has not yet approved a vaccine, but anecdotal evidence suggests a significant risk reduction (90%) in transmission if the human is inoculated about 15 minutes prior to exposure.
Inoculating more than an hour before exposure is not recommended, as the vaccine is short-acting and wears off quickly. Carrying a second booster inoculation is advisable if spending more than two hours in a public barn. If spending an entire day in the barn is necessary, bringing a cooler of supplies is advisable.
Reported Successful Inoculations: (anecdotal)
Home remedies abound, and are surprisingly effective. The highest incident of non-infection has been reported by eating a much larger breakfast than normal. This disables the body’s natural “justification” mechanism, and boosts resistance. Other reported remedies: avoidance of anything outside the home that is pink, putting small amounts of mentholated gel beneath the nostrils (to disrupt the sense of smell), wearing exceptionally tight jeans or smooth, light colored, “teenager” pull-on breeches. (The latter is best done in conjunction with a shirt that does not fall more than an inch below the waist.) Fitted jackets/coats are also reported to help.
Signs of Infection:
This virus manifests in cunning ways (presumably to self-replicate). Aside from an unusual (often subliminal) desire for donuts and pink boxes, typically men and women show different signs of infection:
distended belly (officer gut)
cranky “so what” attitude (steep decrease in stimulation of ‘guilt’ portion of brain)
increased thirst for coffee
decreased desire for anything labeled “no trans-fats”
thigh spread and widening of hips (mother-in-law phenomenon)
deepening of cellulite
increased desire to forego exercise
spontaneous weeping (steep increase in stimulation of ‘guilt’ portion of brain)
Listen to the doctors below: Back Away From the Donuts…
photo by: evaxebra
~End of Public Service Announcement~