October 24, 1986

Night of the Living Dead II: Slow Virus Encephalopathies and AIDS: Do Necromantic Zombiists Transmit HTLV-III/LAV During Voodooistic Rituals?

Author Affiliations

Libertyville, Ill

JAMA. 1986;256(16):2199-2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380160057017

To the Editor.—  A recent report concerning electron microscopy in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) encephalopathy makes an association between the AIDS virus and the unconventional slow virus of scrapie.1 Taxonomically, the human retroviruses, including human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/ LAV), are more closely related to the visna virus of sheep than to the sheep unconventional slow virus. However, I believe that sociological evidence may more strongly link AIDS clinically and epidemiologically with the human unconventional slow virus afflictions of kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. These data also suggest an answer different than that of simple promiscuous heterosexual transmission to the puzzle of the unusually high incidence of AIDS in Haitians, and possibly, of that in sub-Saharan Africans. This conclusion, if confirmed, could make the development of an animal model for subsequent investigations easier and more practical.The answer is religious and cultural rather than biologic. In his