The plague's most visible symptom is a perruque—a cap of fungal fibers that cover the top of the head like a wig. The grey fibers completely cover the victims own hair, obscuring the natural hair color. Hirsute individuals can have the gray fibers covering most of their body. These fibers serve as the spore generators, spreading the disease.
Other symptoms of the plague are more serious: high fever; a thin opaque film over the eyes creating blindness; unconsciousness, coma, and death from brain damage.
The progression of the disease is swift. The first sign is a mild fever. A few thread of grey fiber appear at the roots of the hair within a day, and completely cover the skull within three days. By the third day, vision is dimmed by the film over the eyes and the fever increases in intensity. By the fifth day, the patient is blind and wracked by a high fever.
A crisis occurs on the seventh day. If the fever breaks, the victim usually recovers. The film over they eyes melts off; the fibers on the skull grow brittle and are shed (along with the natural hair—survivors are bald until their hair grows back). Recovery is complete within 10 days of onset.
The crisis on the seventh day is crucial. If the patient does not survive the crisis, his condition rapidly deteriorates; death follows within 24 hours. About 50% of plague victims do not survive the crisis.
Early in the course of the disease, there is little that can be done. When the fever start to rise, the patient must be kept comfortable and fever suppressants administers. Antibiotics can help reduce complications, but don't appear to help in treating the disease itself.
Because the fungus is airborne, any air treatment system capable of filtering fungus spores should be sufficient to prevent the spread of the disease in an enclosed environment. Isolation of both infected and uninfected individuals can also slow or stop the spread of the disease.
There is a vaccine, produced by Imperial Geneering Systems, which is effective for about 50% to 60% of those treated, and reduces the fatality rate in the remaining treatments.
References & Contributors (Sources)
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