Bridge is a highly contagious, progressive and incurable disease. According to WHO estimates there are currently between 50 and 100 million infected people worldwide. Unlike other epidemics of this scale, bridge attacks primarily in developed countries. While rarely fatal, the disease has enormous negative impact on the lives of infected individuals and on the whole society. This page presents the current state of knowledge on the origins, symptoms and prevention of bridge.
Etiology. Earlier theories assumed that bridge is an addictive
drug, much like alcohol. In 1976, however, two independent teams of Dutch and
American scientists isolated Baccillus bridgeus, a very small bacteria
causing bridge. This discovery explains why earlier treatment programs
such as `Bridge Players Anonymous' were unsuccessful.
Origins of the epidemics. The bridge epidemic started around 1890, almost simultaneously in Great Britain and in the USA. It appears that a relatively benign bacteria causing whist mutated itself into Baccillus bridgeus. While the reasons for this mutation are not completely determined, a likely hypothesis suggests that it was a result of exposure of the whist bacteria to high doses of alcohol and boredom among civil servants in certain parts of the British Empire (mostly Egypt and India).
Symptoms and relief. The development of the disease is naturally
divided into three stages. During the first stage, which is not at all
unpleasant, the infected individual enjoys an occasional social game of bridge
and does not think of bridge in between those. Only a small area of brain has
been attacked and there are not infrequent reports of a spontaneous arrest of
the disease and even of complete recovery.
Cure. Currently, the only available cure for bridge is lobotomy. This is performed only in extreme cases.
Prevention. Bridge is highly contagious. Conservative estimates indicate that it is 65 times as contagious as chess and about 5-6 times as the most infectious of the so called Nintendo viral group (which usually attack only children and adolescents and disappear, without causing any damage, upon victim's reaching the adulthood). Thus it is very hard to prevent a bridge infection. One should avoid any contact whatsoever with bridge players. If complete avoidance is impossible, do not allow the infected individual to talk about bridge and never, ever agree to be `introduced to bridge'. Recently published results of a 20-year long study by John R. Williams of the Hopkins University lead to surprising conclusions. Thus it is not particularly risky to be in company of bridge carriers, when their number is divisible by 4. On the other hand, it is extremely dangerous to be alone with 3 (or 7, 11, etc.) bridge players for a prolonged period of time (a cruise, chalet holiday, etc.). The reasons for this dichotomy are at present completely unknown and underline our lack of knowledge about Baccillus bridgeus.