The Centers For Disease Control in Washington issued a health bulletin Wednesday warning that so-called "Bieber Fever," has turned deadly in the United States, killing scores of young teenagers, and is now reported in record numbers in adolescent and child populations.
The fever has resulted in at least 10 fatalities across the country, mostly among young people but also some adults. Newly infected patients should in the next few weeks expect to suffer from dysentery, widespread skin lesions, leprosy, anemia and markedly enlarged spleens.
"We're dealing with a rare disease in which the host body becomes infected by metacyclic promastigotes during blood feasting," says Dr. Richard Kohen director of communicable disease control at the CDC. "In the visceral stage, these parasites migrate to the vital organs and the body just starts to shut down from total Bieber consumption."
The protozoan parasites of Bieber fever that overtake the host body have become increasingly drug resistant, said Kohen, who said past treatments of antimony-based drugs have so far proved ineffective to the horrific disease, one in which large large open sores, known as "Bieber bowls" criss-cross the face and shoulders offering weeks of agonizing torment to the patient.
The phlebotomine sandflies that carry the disease are normally found on petting zoo animals and other doe-eyed young mammals. There are currently no vaccines for Bieber fever, though scientists hope that by studying the robust Bieber viral DNA they can sequence the parasite's genome and concoct a robust carbohydrate version of the vaccine that will save victims before they drown in their own bodily fluids, suffer organs exploding in supperating balls of pus or find their faces melting right off their skulls.
Beiber fever has been identified in at least 50 countries with a total population at risk of some 583 million. In other areas, the disease is known by some of its local folk names such as "Beiber leprosy," "Spotted Beiber," and "Chupa Mi Culo." Many of these areas lack available resources of vaccine and treatment, mostly sodium stibogluconate therapy that hampers the parasite's ability to absorb food from the surrounding host cells. But some strains of the disease, such as the dreaded "Diffuse Cutaneous Bieber Fever," also known as "The Canadian Death Rattle," have become resistant to drugs.
"This is a very smart parasite," says Kohen. "It just kind of creeps up on you with its seemingly innocuous symptoms and warms your body up. Just when you are most susceptible and weak, that's when it does the most harm and pretty soon it is turning your body against itself."
Kohen advises teens to be wary of blood-feeding hematophagous animals and phlebotominae, especially those with the familiar Bieber bowl trademarks. Meanwhile, scientists are preparing with the help of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to find out how exactly Beiber fever has spread, what are its major gateways of transmission, and why people are so, so, so susceptible.
"This is an insidious, fiendish attack on human host cells," said Kohen. "It doesn't just make your spleen larger than your liver. It gets into your very heart and makes you shake, shake shake until your body just totally gives out."