variant Transmissible Spongiform Encephalitic Necrosis

The downfall of mankind came suddenly, by something even smaller than a virus. The infectious protein, or prion, known as “variant Transmissible Spongiform Encephalitic Necrosis (vTSEN)” was either the result of random evolutionary chance or extraordinarily bad luck. Whichever the case, the end came shortly after a plane touched down in Los Angeles and Patient Zero walked through the airport.

The original infection was known as laughing sickness and had existed for centuries throughout the interior of Papua New Guinea. Officially called Kuru, this already severe neurological disorder mutated radically into the variant vTSEN which eventually wiped out 99.1% of the human population. The symptoms remained similar, but the speed of progression through the stages was accelerated over one-hundred fold.

Two other major differences emerged. In an unprecedented leap, the mutated prion was transmissible through simple contact instead of cannibalism. Instead of having to consume the infected tissue, a potential victim needs only to have a conversation or share a drink. Spread easier than a simple cold or flu, and having a near 100% fatality rate, it quickly overcame medical response.

The other major difference and probably the more important, the final terminal stage isn’t terminal. The corpse only remains dead for a short time, but rigor is replaced by violent surges and eventual resurrection. Technically returned to life, these animated corpses are little more than shells of flesh with their minds replaced by a singular, animalistic desire to consume living flesh.

The symptoms are broken down into three specific stages. The first, ambulant stages, exhibits unsteady stance and gait, decreased muscle control, tremors, deterioration of speech and dysarthria (slurred speech). see images 1 thru 2

In the second stage, sedentary stage, the patient is incapable of walking without support, suffers ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and severe tremors. Furthermore, the victim is emotionally unstable, depressed, yet having uncontrolled sporadic laughter. Interestingly, the tendon reflexes are still normal at this point. see image 3

Finally, the patient enters terminal stage, at which point he is incapable of sitting without support, suffers severe ataxia (no muscle coordination), is unable to speak, is incontinent (unable to restrain natural discharges/evacuations of urine or feces), has dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), is unresponsive to his surroundings, and acquires ulcerations (sores with pus and necrosis). see image 4

An infected person usually dies within 2 to 3 days after the first symptoms, often because of severe pneumonia or pressure sores infection.


Fireteam Z Golga