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Analyzing Transmission and Virulence of “Stanley Cup Fever” Epidemic And Effect on “Vancouver Canucks” Population

April 19, 2012 | by  |  Lifestyle and Culture


It is largely agreed upon that acute calixvirus (commonly known as Stanley Cup Fever) is one of the most virulent pathogens observed in any first-world nation in the past thirty years (Burke et al, 2008). Yet, despite the disease’s high infection rate, unknown etiology, and increased prevalence in the Pacific Northwest, little attempt has been made by mainstream science to document the symptoms and spread of the pathogen.

Cases have been relatively rare since the disease’s most recent and widespread outbreak (in the Canadian city of Vancouver in 2011), however, the alarming spike in infections which unexpectedly began again on April 18 (a sudden surge in prevalence that has occurred only three times in NHL history) raises fears that this could constitute the beginnings of a pandemic of untold proportions, potentially greater in scope than the 1918 influenza pandemic, the 2003 SARS epidemic, and the 2009 Swine Flu epidemic combined.

This danger is chillingly real, as evidenced by the 2011 Vancouver outbreak. Owing to this danger, and the paucity of clinical data, Drunk in Vancouver scientists set out to document the pathology of the microorganism, with the hopes of one day developing a cure for this unique and terrifying virus.

Among the virus' early effects are the seizure and distortion of facial muscles. Oxidization of skin also may occur. Photo credit: Liam Hanham


While cases of Stanley Cup Fever have occasionally been observed in smaller numbers nationwide, it appears that, in recent years, the lush climate of the Pacific Northwest (in particular, the city of Vancouver) has emerged as the one best suited for the disease’s survival. In general, the demographic known as “Vancouver Canucks Fans” appears to be particularly susceptible to the virus’ effects, with an infection rate of nearly 90% amongst healthy subjects.

Acute calixvirus has four stages (known within the scientific community as “rounds”), with symptoms increasing in severity with each subsequent stage. Round 1 is relatively mild, resulting primarily in decreased productivity, a need to congregate in dark, crowded rooms, and an increased desire to vigorously strike the palms of others. By Round 2, symptoms increase in severity. Verbal skills are affected almost immediately, causing victims to lose their ability to form all but the most basic vowel sounds, reducing any attempt at speech to the phrase “Whoo!” (which affected individuals commonly use as an agonized attempt to communicate). By the time the disease reaches Round 3, it has severely impaired the functionality of those affected, to the point where all but the most basic tasks are completely neglected, save for criticism of Roberto Luongo. In some cases, the skin and hair have been known to turn a bright blue colour, perhaps as a result of reduced blood flow to the skin, brain, and reproductive organs. Round 4 is by far the deadliest phase of the disease, with symptoms that include acute insanity (reminiscent of the late stages of Syphillis) a need to wear a Vancouver Canucks flag as a cape (perhaps as some form of primitive folk remedy) and the irrepressible desire to cause widespread property damage and post the results to social media. Individuals from suburban areas appear to be especially susceptible to the virus, particularly those from locales accessible by bridge or tunnel, as do those with a predisposition to Adrenaline or Tapout t-shirts.

Photo credit: Liam Hanham

Controversial new research indicates that an interest in literature, cooperation, and basic human empathy seems to reduce symptoms amongst all test subjects. Some urban dwellers, particularly those in the area known as East Vancouver have managed to build up a resistance to the disease. While the exact reasons for this are unknown, it is currently presumed to be related to their wilful alienation of society.

The reason for the disease’s bizarre physical and neurological effects are unknown, however it appears similar in effect to the Olympic Fever Pandemic of 2010. Luckily, the rest of the country remains largely unaffected; for this reason, it is presumed that the Rocky Mountains provide an effective barrier against the spread of this highly pathogenic invader. Drunk in Vancouver pathologists currently have no concrete evidence as to how the disease is carried, but it is suspected that the most common form of transmission is simple palm-to-palm contact.

Lesions on the skin of an afflicted subject. Photo credit: Liam Hanham


There is no known cure for acute calixvirus. Victims have been observed ingesting large amounts of a foul, fermented beverage known as “Canadian” in an attempt to alleviate their suffering, however, in truth, the ingestion of these beverages only serves to increase the spread of the disease. As such, the CDC has ordered the early closure of all liquor and spirits vendors in the immediate area, in the hopes of slowing the spread of the disease. While there is little evidence to suggest that the virus will progress beyond Round 1 in 2012, scientists are nonetheless preparing a number of contingency plans.

To date, no vaccine has been developed. The only other effective treatments thus far have been phenacyl bromide and other lachrymatory agents (colloquially known as “Tear Gas”), which were used with great success during the disease’s most violent outbreak, less than one year ago (Quinn and Burke, 2011). The use of widespread public shaming as an inoculating agent has yet to be proven.

Curiously, within the Vancouver Canucks Fan population, there are particular individuals with full or partial immunity to acute calixvirus. Known colloquially as “Bandwagoners”, these individuals manifest a milder form of the illness, with symptoms that vacillate in severity, indicating the presence of natural serum antibodies. Within this particular group lies all hope for the future, and further study of their unique physiology is crucial in preventing the spread of this terrifying disease.

Photo credit: Liam Hanham


Though it has not yet been confirmed as “infectious”, acute calixvirus remains a serious threat to world health, and as such, requires immediate action on the part of global policymakers. Acute calixvirus has yet to be recognized as an official epidemic by the World Health Organization and, as of this writing, its outbreak has not effected an increase in their Pandemic Alert Level.

If the spread of this disease is left unchecked, there is no telling the extent of the global catastrophe that could occur. While Round 4 outbreaks are relatively rare, and although, despite a recent surge in infections, it seems unlikely that the virus will even progress to Round 2 in 2012, authorities have now seen firsthand the devastating effect of inaction on this issue. There is some speculation that the Cup itself may provide a cure, however, as of this writing, science has yet to find definitive proof, and, given the “at-risk” nature of Vancouver Canucks fans, authorities are instead contemplating the possibility of a cull.

Police prepare a weapon of last resort. Photo credit: Liam Hanham

Jesse Donaldson is a journalist and historian whose work has appeared in VICE, The Tyee, subTerrain, and SadMag. If you think THIS is neat, an expanded "This Day In Vancouver", is now available in book form, in bookstores everywhere, and online at Anvil Press.


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