An irritable skin pandemic has broken out in Uganda, and it is getting itchy in here

Author: Daniel K Kalinaki. PHOTO/FILE. 

What you need to know:

  • Big Men and Women in Big Public Offices and Big Cars who wear the seat belts of restraint on their power tend to have higher immunity to the virus.

A new pandemic has broken out in Uganda. It is called irritable skin syndrome. It mostly affects people with thin skins. It is caused by novel strongo criticismu, a new virus that is common among people holding high and powerful offices. Middle-aged men in ill-fitting suits are particularly prone, but it has also been diagnosed among women and younger people. Advanced plans are underway by scientists at the Uganda Virus Lisaach Centre to conduct double-blind randomised clinical trials to find out if spending many hours in air-conditioned offices, or being driven in four-wheel drive vehicles paid for and fuelled by taxpayers causes the disease.

It is strongly believed, based on available clinical data, that people who are insecure and those who were not hugged enough as children are genetically predisposed to the disease.

Researchers say that the strongo criticisimu virus is not new. It has previously been known to spread through newspaper and magazine pages, or through droplets in the air in radio and television studios, especially during live public affairs programmes. Infected people who shout during such programmes are high-risk. Those with over-productive salivary glands are known to be super-spreaders.

However, researchers at the Landan School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s new campus in Kiseege-Buyende, who discovered the new variant, say it has new mutations which allow it to spread digitally on social media and through mobile phones.

Thin-skinned people exposed to the novel strongo criticisimu variant in these spaces quickly develop the irritable skin syndrome. The window period, between individuals being exposed to the virus and becoming symptomatic, ranges from immediate to a few days or weeks, depending on the thickness – or lack of – of the epidermis, the outermost skin layer.

Symptoms vary widely from patient to patient. In the majority of cases, patients present with high tempers, indignation and indigestion. The link to irritable bowel syndrome has not been confirmed but cannot be ruled out, an intern doctor who just returned to work from the last medic’s strike said. Reactions vary widely. Some patients break down and weep uncontrollably, usually out of public glare, although a few have been spotted at pub counters involuntarily mixing their premium ocular secretions into their alcoholic beverages.

Others have been known to become delirious and suffer temporary amnesia, prompting them to ask complete strangers if they know who they are. This question is often posed with increasing levels of agitation, and experts are advising the public not to approach such individuals. Asking individuals displaying this particular form of deliria to check inside their pockets and look at their national IDs or passports to find themselves is not recommended. Neither is the idea of pointing them into the general direction of the nearest NIRA office.

In extreme cases, patients have been known to lash out, with varying degrees of violence and viciousness, at people they suspect of having exposed them to the novel strongo criticisimu virus. Others have been known to use their positions or other state institutions to go after these suspected super-spreaders.

Countries in which people are exposed to fresh air, allowed to meet, dissent, and hold public demonstrations tend to have a lower incidence of irritable skin syndrome, scientists say. They believe that people who are free to share their views, including those that might annoy Big Men and Women in Big Public Offices and Big Cars, develop herd immunity against the virus.

Big Men and Women in Big Public Offices and Big Cars who wear the seat belts of restraint on their power tend to have higher immunity to the virus. Those who enjoy the perks of high office with humility and a sense of public service are also said to be less vulnerable to the disease.

Public health experts are not calling for a lockdown or social-distancing measures at this time in response to the pandemic. Instead they are urging all citizens – but particularly Big Men and Women in Big Public Offices and Big Cars – to find time out of their busy schedules to take deep breaths, exercise, and not make mountains out of molehills.

“We advise our patients to drink water and mind their business,” Dr Siima, a clairvoyant and clarinettist, said. Important people with low immunity have also been advised to take regular showers and moisturise. This, researchers say, helps develop thicker skins. 

Mr Kalinaki is a journalist and  poor man’s freedom fighter. 

Twitter: @Kalinaki