I saw the following headline on Google News today:
WHO says Asia must prepare to control a bird flu pandemic
WHO? Mysterious acroynm, or Abbott/Costello-type joke article? It only took a click and a few seconds of reading to determine that, boringly, WHO refers to the World Health Organization. But the fact that my first thought was "Wait, who's WHO?" attests to this article's ripeness for parody. Especially when my second-through-fourth thoughts were: "WHO's in charge!? WHO gets to decide whether Asia should prepare for bird flu? On the other hand, WHO knows what do to when it comes to this kind of thing."
Clearly, somebody had to give this the lambasting it deserved...
In an uproar-inciting press release released today, the World Health Organization, or WHO, made bold strides to explain the recent spike in deaths related to the much-feared bird flu that is sweeping Turkey and Central Asia… by placing blame squarely on the shoulders of several other acronym-riddled organizations.
WHO responded to evidence that bird flu is only contagious to humans after long exposure to infected birds in non-ventilated areas by directing blame toward a previously unimagined source: the stuffed birds many Turkish families have mounted on their walls as part of the Turkish festival of Wullmontaburd, or “Wall Mounted Birds”. Even dead birds can transmit the virus, said WHO, who urged Turks to stop buying the stuffed ornaments.
But the Western Hemisphere Association of Taxidermists, or WHAT, a major world provider of stuffed birds, claims the wall-mounted poultry are not nearly as serious a risk for bird flu as other factors, for example, the Turkish practice of blowing their noses on birds passing in the street. WHAT was blamed last time there was a bird flu, and it turned out to be WHO’s fault. But WHO knows WHAT is the real cause.
Another step in the outbreak chain, says WHO, is the handling of infected stuffed birds by Turkish minors, who may not have the advanced immune systems of their adult counterparts. But the Northern Ontario Big Old Department of Youth, or NOBODY, claims that blaming the immune systems of Turkish youths is jumping to conclusions, not to mention being bad for the kids’ self-esteem. NOBODY values children, after all, and NOBODY is sure WHO can come up with a better explanation.
But the question of where birds, stuffed or not, handled by children or not, are getting the disease in the first place still remains a mystery. WHO has suggested that birds may be getting bitten by infected rats, who develop the disease by eating garbage, a claim that NOBODY has flatly rejected. Besides, the Bosnian International Rodent Disease Fighting Labor Union, or BIRDFLU, professes it has done an adequate job of getting the jump on this very problem. BIRDFLU has been fighting disease for years, they say, and regardless of how many rodent-versus-bird biting matches occur, this is simply not a viable means for an outbreak. NOBODY supports these claims; however, WHO continues to insist that BIRDFLU is indeed at least a partial cause of birdflu.