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The Meteor Flu
Copyright 2016, M.R. Leenysman
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
They called it the ‘Meteor Flu’, back before I was born. Ten large meteoroids crashed into Earth in the space of 24 hours on March 19th, 1992. Most impacted as meteorites in the oceans, but three crashed to land, one near Beijing, one near Berlin, the other near Toledo, Ohio, each causing minor property damage, but nothing catastrophic, at least at first.
Reports of a flu-like illness spread out from those impact points, and within a month, nearly every human on the planet had contracted the disease, and then apparently recovered from it, with no ill effects. In fact, some elderly patients who would normally be expected to die from a flu virus, actually showed signs of increased vitality, and the death rate that year actually dipped as a result.
Despite the distinction between meteors, which burn up in the atmosphere, and meteorites which survive to crash, the media went with ‘Meteor Flu’.
The infectious agent was never isolated. No treatment was found.
A team of geneticists then made a discovery, by comparing DNA samples from before and after on the same patients, that the disease, if it could still be called one, had altered the chromosomes of everyone infected, in hundreds of areas of what was typically called “junk DNA”, parts of the molecules with no known function. They also had no idea what effect the alterations might have.