Terrifying illnesses and amazing literary news are featured in this roundup of the week's top headlines, compiled by our TX. staff writers.
Beware the virus*
OGDEN -- Thirty patients recently checked into McKay-Dee Hospital with a mysterious disease.
It began early Saturday morning when Mark Otter, a senior at Bonneville High School, noticed open sores and lacerations all over his body.
Otter was admitted to McKay-Dee Hospital at 10 a.m. with symptoms of seizures and mild dementia.
Since then, 29 additional patients were admitted into intensive care with the same bizarre symptoms. The doctors at the hospital are expecting those numbers to dramatically increase.
Drake Pepper, an infectious disease physician, says, "The number of patients with the identical symptoms continues to rise."
What is causing this seemly overnight epidemic?
"We don't know yet; our best guess is a virus," Pepper said. "Whatever it is it is very aggressive, and it has local doctors alarmed. A virus with these characteristics could be devastating, if we do not discover what it is and eventually work to find a cure."
The symptoms are as puzzling as the virus itself. Neurologist John Smith explained the early warning signs.
"We have observed that a patient becomes deathly pale, hallucinates and develops severe lack of coordination," he said. "The skin breaks out with open sores and skin lacerations, turning black after a few hours. This is followed by uncontrollable muscle twitching, seizures and memory loss. Patients also have problems with dementia, which occurs within hours."
Robert Pain, director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, advises Top of Utah residents that "the best thing is to stay away from public areas and be on your guard. The way this disease is attacking the human body is truly terrifying. It is killing the mind and the body, but leaving the patient alive. We are not sure how this virus works or if it is even a virus."
He also warns that citizens struck by the ailment can be temporarily dangerous if they are not contained because of severe brain decay and loss in judgment.
Emily Stump, best friend of Otter, said, "One moment he was fine, we were hanging out like normal and the next, he was like something out of a horror movie. It wasn't Mark, I don't know what it was."
Even though the members of the local medical community do not know the source or nature of this epidemic, they all strongly agree that is extremely dangerous.
Is this the apocalypse -- the zombie apocalypse -- we've all been waiting for?
-- Sierra Bruggink, Weber High
The moment all you Harry Potter fans have waited for is finally here.
As of March 31, J.K. Rowling announced that she was going to write an eighth book in the "Harry Potter" series, following Harry's youngest son, Albus Potter, and his adventures through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
According to the New York Times, which printed an article about all of Rowling's new ideas for this book, Albus' year begins normally enough, with him meeting new friends and making new enemies. But his Hogwarts experience soon takes an interesting turn as Rose, the daughter of Ron and Hermione, develops the same interest in Muggles as her mother had.
Rose asks Albus to help her secretly attend a nearby Muggle school, and the two find it to be a struggle to keep up with her Hogwarts classes as well as her Muggle classes. Albus also discovers an inherited talent he gained from his father for playing seeker for his house Quidditch team, becoming the youngest player on the team in 19 years and taking his fair share of teasing from his older brother, James, a beater on the same team.
In the midst of it all, trouble is going on at home, and Albus finds out that his younger sister, Lily, has been kidnapped, and his parents are going mad with worry. No one has any idea who would commit such a crime, but one thing is clear: the kidnapper has magic. So now it is up to Albus and his friends to use their magical resources at Hogwarts to help his parents find his little sister in time.
I, personally, am a huge Harry Potter fan, and I almost screamed for joy when I heard this announcement. I don't know everything that is going to happen in the book, but from what I've heard, I think J.K. Rowling has done an amazing job coming up with new obstacles for Albus to overcome while, at the same time, incorporating all of our favorite characters from the previous series into this story line.
I will be waiting eagerly -- with all the other Harry Potter fans, of course -- to read this book.
-- Olivia Andrus, Ogden High
Last Monday, Stephanie Meyer, author of the "Twilight" series, announced she will be releasing a new series, an extended sequel to the original books.
The first book, "Midnight Sun" -- once rumored to be on hold -- is scheduled to be released April 1, 2014. This series will focus on Edward's side of the saga, highlighting some of the unknown facts about vampire history, the Volturi, and Edward and his family's past.
In an interview about the upcoming release, Meyer said, "After I had finished writing 'The Twilight Saga,' I realized that there was still so much left out about vampires that hadn't been explained through the book, such as the first vampires, and how they escaped detection from the humans for so long. This new series will also go a little further in time than the 'Twilight' series did, with more information about Renesmee's childhood, her relationship with Jacob, and Edward and Bella's future."
For more information, check out the startling announcement on Meyer's blog at www.stepheniemeyer.com.
-- Meghan Jones, Bonneville High
Editor's note: All content was provided special to TX. for its April 1, 2013 edition.