Chinese Viral Prefrontal Encephalopathy, better known by the traditional name "Canton Madness" (Traditional Chinese; 豬發燒, German; Kanton-Fieber, Spanish; Animales Plaga, Japanese; Fune-no Shi) is a viral disease that primarily effects the functioning of the prefrontal lobe of the brain. The disease is partially zoonotic (i.e., transmitted by animals), affecting certain families of the class Mammalia.
Signs and SymptomsSymptoms of CVPE in humans have been greatly studied and in the past have been subjects of intense scrutiny by both the scientific and religious community. After being infected, the patient will typically have a three to four hour window of opportunity to make peace with their God while suffering excruciating pains below their tongue and in their throat; during this period the virus has hijacked the salivary glands and is using the cells within to produce billions of copies of itself. After this relatively asymptomatic period (during which speech becomes more difficult), the virus launches a full assault on the prefrontal lobe of the Brain. As higher thinking and reasoning are lost to the patient, the virus forces the brain cells of the Medulla Oblongata to replicate rapidly and unevenly. The resulting growth of the Medulla typically results in a vicious bloodlust that sends the now mentally incapacitated patient into an endless maddening rage. The patient will usually seek to attack anything that moves at this point; as he is mentally incapable, his main method of attack is his teeth. As the saliva is already loaded with CVPE viruses, the cycle continues.
The Medulla Oblongata seems to play an extremely important role in the infection; that area of the brain mutates in semi-predictable manner, shaping the patient's life post-infection.
Fortunately uncommon, there are some variations on the behavior of the patient depending on random growth patterns of the Medulla. Occasionally, the virus produces not a blood lust, but a hypersexual horror; the growth of the Medulla in some areas can lead to extreme sex drive instead of a rage, or the Medulla is effected in a way which causes the patient to feel extreme gnawing hunger. These variations are due to the Medulla's influence on the brain's baser instincts. As the Medulla becomes twisted and swollen, the pituitary glands of the patient may produce excessive amounts of various hormones, twisting and distorting the body.
At the current time, there is no known method of curing or consistently treating the infection. When first exposed, immediate action has been known to occasionally stop the patient to becoming infected. If the exposure is light, such as a shallow bite or scratch, immediate (within ten to fifteen minutes) disinfection and intravenous anti-viral compounds have been effective countermeasures. For deeper wounds to the limbs, amputation within 30 minutes of exposure has proven reasonably effective; for exposure to the torso, head, neck, or any major artery/vein, infection is almost assured.
For someone with a full-blown infection, there are no known ways of restoring cognition. An interesting case study was conducted in Louisiana in the 1890s where a rural Cajun woman fed her infected husband heavy doses of laudanum and other sedatives to keep him calm for over twenty years. When sedated, the man was capable of simple communication. When taken off his steady stream of opiates, he reverted to the typical rage of the infected (albeit more powerful because of the opium withdrawals). Since this case was made public, a number of people have attempted to keep loved ones by feeding them opiates after infection; oftentimes, they believe their sedated family member or lover is truly docile and they cease the flow of drugs, resulting in their own death, or they may become infected via saliva. In some cases, someone will keep their lover sedated and lose their own minds, attempting to make love with the infected. This invariably results in the spread of the infection. There is thus some debate over the personhood of a human who has undergone a full infection and is under the influence of calming agents.
For someone who is exposed and begins showing symptoms of infection, suicide recommended. Should a person become infected and not choose to end their own lives, it is recommended that they be very securely restrained and the nearest legal authority summoned. Except in emergency or survival situations, it is highly recommended that a legal authority be summoned to dispose of the infected, lest the civilian who performs the execution be charged with murder. Determining whether a person killed is infected or not is done via simple autopsy of the brain; in an infected, the front portion has dissolved into a thick reddish goo. If there are no signs of frontal deterioration or medulla modifications, then it is a homicide.
CVPE has little effect on most animals. Arthropods are completely immune and do not seem to be carriers; thus the disease cannot be passed on via Mosquito like Malaria. Laboratory experiments indicate that while the virus does not have any toxic effects on most fish (either fresh or salt water), the fish seem to be able to detect traces of CVPE in meat and will strongly prefer to feed upon non-infected flesh, even if the infected flesh is of a higher quality. Reptiles have shown a similar selectivity; in the tropics, Crocodiles and even Monitor Lizards can hold their own against the typical infected human, but seem to actively prefer uninfected flesh. In Australia, it has been observed that both Crocodiles and Sharks will reject a fresh infected body in favor of a largely decayed uninfected corpse. While arthropods cannot carry the virus, they seem to be the only group of organisms that actively seek out the infected; even symbiotic relationships have been observed between maggots and the infected. Birds are unaffected by the virus; in the American West, one can find an Infected from miles away by following the column of vultures it is sure to have.Among Mammals, most herbivores seem unaffected. Bovines, sheep, goats, deer, antelope, and other ungulates seem to be the most resistant; the exceptions are Swine and African Big Game. Marsupials are also unaffected. Wild Cats have been known to be susceptible to infection; as have bears, wild dogs, primates, and other carnivores. Empirical research suggests that Whales should also be susceptible to infection, although there are no recorded examples of this. Manatees and Dugongs have been shown to be surprisingly resilient to the disease; only 15% of exposed animals exhibit symptoms at all.. An unusual effect of the virus among non-primate mammals is the constriction of blood vessels around the mouth. This constriction eventually results in the tissues becoming necrotic, exposing the teeth and gums of the animal in a savage snarl.
Most rodents have been shown to be relatively unaffected by the disease. In rats, CVPE virus settles in the Lymph nodes, where it reproduces and spreads through the body in a commensalist fashion. The virus also slightly adversely effects the growth of the teeth in most rodents, weakening the calcium and causing irregular growth and wear.Swine and African Megafauna seem to be the exceptions to the generality of herbivores being immune to the disease. In Africa and India, Infected Elephants are a well studied phenomenon. An infected Elephant, while extremely dangerous, is a short-lived creature, as the virus typically paralyzes the digestive tract. Within a few days to a week, even the most willful Infected Elephant will collapse from starvation. Rhinos are similarly afflicted in the medical sense; in practicality, however, as the virus begins decaying the animal's grey matter, any small disturbance is likely to cause the adrenal glands to dump all available adrenaline, sending the animal into shock and cardiac arrest. Hippopotomi and most species of swine react similarly. It has been observed in feral, domestic, and wild populations of pigs that behavior towards other pigs is unaffected. Primarily, the disease causes only increased aggression towards other animals--and this is believed to be caused by an increase in testosterone production. It is theorized that the pig is CVPE's natural reservoir, as they seem to share a symbiotic relationship--the pig provides CVPE with new hosts, while the virus manipulates the individual pig's Medulla and Pituitary glands to create a stronger animal who is more likely to survive and mate. Interestingly, CVPE can be passed on during mating. Studies of the effect of the virus on fetal pigs have shown that the piglet has a roughly 35% increased chance of debilitating birth defects when exposed to the virus in-vitro; however, if the piglet survives gestation the virus lies largely latent until puberty, when it enhances secondary sex characteristics and makes the animal more likely to breed.
Types of Infected
- Revenant: The Revenant is the most common type of infected. The Revenant is formed from the usual mutations of the Medulla; their bodies are generally not as twisted as other types of infected. They form the bulk of the hordes of the infected. The Revenant is named after a figure in European folklore; the traditional Revenant is a corpse possessed by an angry spirit. The term was not applied to the infected until around 1860.
- Bruiser or Gulper: The Bruiser is the second most common form of infected. The Bruiser or Gulper is typically formed from victims who are already heavily built; the Bruiser's brain changes in a way that causes a gnawing, unending hunger. As such, Bruisers travel alone, unlike many other types of infected, as a Bruiser will not hesitate to attack and devour other infected. Bruisers are notoriously difficult to kill, as they can take dozens of shots to the body without debilitation.
- Ghoul: The Ghoul is one of the more feared and, thankfully, one of the less common infected. The musculature of a Ghoul changes vastly; the legs and arms change function, transforming the infected's primary mode of locomotion from bipedal to a remarkably quick quadrapedal scurrying motion. Ghouls can run as fast as a horse when scurrying like this; coupled with their low gait, this makes them remarkably difficult to target.
Typical Animals affected by CVPE
- Domestic Dog, Canis lupus familaris: The Domestic Dog is one of the most commonly infected animals due to its proximity to mankind. An infected dog's prefrontal lobe is less profoundly affected than an infected human's; infected dogs often remain cognitive enough to form packs capable of surviving for years in the wild. The social structure of an infected dog pack is frail and dynamic; the hyper-aggressive dogs are constantly fighting among themselves for dominance. In addition, like most other infected carnivores, the lips of the dog will become necrotic and rot, exposing the teeth in a savage snarl. Domestic dogs are distributed worldwide near and within human habitation.
- Domestic Cat, Felis catus: The domestic cat, due to a genetic mutation present in several other species of felids, has about a 90% rate of immunity among the population. The remaining ten percent die within several hours of infection to cardiac arrest; the virus denatures protiens in the nervous system, quickly paralyzing and killing the feline. Domestic cats are extremely popular pets as a result of their immunities; cats are quick and efficient was to control rodent populations that both spread infection and damage property.
- Brown Bear, Ursus arctos: The Brown Bear (along with all subspecies, including the Grizzly) is
In addition to the three main types of infected, there are literally dozens of regional variations on the above types. Each variation is the result of specific differences in the local environments that have altered the development of each type of infected. Listed below are a few examples of regional varieties.
- Bayou Esquilette: A regional variant of the Revenant, found in the swamps of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, the Carolinas, and southeast Virginia. Named after a Cajun term meaning Bayou Skeleton, they are typically shrunken, hairless things, crawling with insects and leeches after weeks or months in the mud and water. Bayou Esquilette occasionally get stuck in the mud or in debris, rooting them to the spot.
- Cihuateteo: A regional variant of the Ghoul, found in the rain forests and in the hills of Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean. Unlike many other varieties of infected, the Cihuateteo form coherent packs or troupes, with both a clear set of hierarchy and social structure. This enables the Cihuateteo to function not unlike packs of wolves. They have been intensely studied for their progression from mindless beasts to planning animals with a keen sense of social structure; the change has been linked to a mutation in the virus that is under research as a vaccine. Indeed, many traits indicate that the brains of the Cihuateteo are less effected by the virus; gathering fruits in the absence of meat, caring for wounded, and even mating and child rearing have been observed. There has been debate over the personhood of Cihuateteo; ultimately, it has been declared a non-person. Despite their human-like behavior, Cihuateteo are extraordinarily violent upon contact with another animal or person.