Formerly London, England - The recent death of a London-based Spanish drum-maker from inhalation anthrax places the death toll of the current pandemic at 75 million and one, now surpassing the Black Death of the 1340s. Last week's death of a Scottish Borders man who had also handled African drums had put the previous death toll at 75 million.
Inhalation anthrax, also called woolsorters' disease, typically involves internal chest bleeding, rapidly progressive systemic infection, and carries a very high mortality rate.
In a desperate attempt to halt the spread of the deadly pandemic sweeping Europe, the NHS has warned everyone to stop sorting wool.
"Woolsorters' disease is back with a vengeance," warned Dr Baabaa Lamb, her ID badge pinned neatly to her stretched and frayed jumper.
"People have gotten too blasé about sorting their woollen jumpers, socks and such when they do their laundry. I know life can be a right ball ache when your jumper stretches in the wash. But please, please, don't sort your woollies and wash them separately in the gentle cycle. It could be fatal."
Dr Lamb added, "As an extra precaution, please put away your Woolite until this epidemic is past so you won't be tempted. The choice is yours: wearing stretched jumpers or dying an agonizing death by internal haemorrhage."
In addition to the anthrax deaths, bubonic plague, another fatal bacterium-based infection is taking its toll across Europe in the current pandemic.
Dr Remy Ratatouille, an expert on rodents and fresh summer vegetables, explained that bubonic plague is carried by rodents and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea.
"Just recently, a public health study reported there are now 20 million more rats than people in Great Britain," shared Dr Ratatouille, adding, "Although there were several million in the 'undecided' category."
As he spoke, Dr Ratatouille painstakingly layered eggplant and courgettes into his Le Creuset baking dish, topping them with a tomato, onion, garlic and bell pepper sauce with one hand whilst deftly fending off a pack of advancing rats with a giant whisk in the other.
"The Black Death is estimated to have killed off 30% - 60% of Europe's population by 1400," remarked Dr Ratatouille, soundly whacking a menacing rat with his whisk. "It continued to return until the 1700s, killing 38,000 Londoners in 1603 and another 100,000 in 1665."
"Absolutely devastating," proclaimed Dr Ratatouille, adding with concern, "You might want to brush that flea off you, dear."
Not taking any chances, London Mayor Boris Johnson has issued an edict closing down all flea markets effectively immediately, after being informed the Queen had fled Buckingham Palace and set up court in Hampton Court Palace.
"We've gotten too soft", said the pudgy mayor. "We've forgotten that flea markets had their origins in the sale of castoff clothes of the rich bourgeois in Paris when they became totally infested with fleas. At least that's what Stephen Frey told me. Please don't buy any of Diana's or Margaret's old dresses."
Similar to the medieval times of the Black Death, Europeans first turned to the Church for succor during the current pandemic. However, when prayer and penitence failed to halt the devastating and horrible deaths, the few remaining survivors have abandoned the Church and any idea of a benevolent God and returned to a 'live for the moment' mentality.
"That foolish boy, Lewis Hamilton, may thank God for winning the Formula One championship," mocked the recently resigned Archbishop of Canterbury, "but soon he'll be wheeling a death cart around London with the McLaren team logo on it, just like the rest of us."
"No champers or cherries to pop then, eh Lewis," spit out a coughing and poxed Archbishop.