The μgnome would like to advise colleagues of a newly emerging infectious disease that has caused a potentially fatal outbreak among private motor vehicles in Perth.
Vehicles in the Western suburbs of Perth, WA and surrounding areas have been caught up in the first known case-cluster of this infection. Clinical manifestations are predominantly superficial with cavitating lesions of the skin and underlying soft tissue (Fig 1). Minor and major variants have been observed (Fig 2a, Fig 2b), already named by clinicians as carpox minor and carpox major. Severe cases have been seen wrapped in blankets (Fig 3), but there is as yet no evidence of a beneficial effect of symptomatic treatment. Experts have already started to dismiss some cases as a write-off, a tragedy when many affected vehicles clearly have plenty of life left in them. Observers noted that once the hailstone virus got inside the body of the vehicle while it was still moving, the car’s condition became critical and the outcome unpredictable.
Fig 1. Skin lesions of carpox
Fig 2a Carpox minor
Fig 2b Carpox major
Fig 3 Attempted carpox therapy
Fig 4 Natural remedy for carpox?
There was panic as rumours spread that carpox was a contagious disease. Large numbers of mildly affected vehicles were seen leaving the city for the suburbs yesterday evening. As yet there have been no reports of secondary spread of carpox, but experts warn that initial assessments of the risk of spread may be premature until the incubation period is known. As some dead birds were seen in the worst affected areas, it is possible that carpox may have an avian origin.
Climate change proponents are already blaming the unusual weather that passed through Perth yesterday, claiming that the carpox virus hails from the heavens. To this we reply that a virus with a diameter of 5cm and a terminal velocity of over 100 kph is a perfectly good reason for motor vehicle skin lesions. For more shots of this freak event, courtesy the ABC see their photo collection.