THE BLOOD PLAGUE - Notes from Dr Summers of the Nosferatu.
Delivered by hand by one of Mrs Patel’s runners (a bicycle courier) to the club. The actual notes are technical and medical, written as if Dr Summers was going to submit a paper to a medical journal. This is the bullet point version, to represent the understanding the PCs have gained from his research.
History and Background Information
Kindred are immune to the vast majority of diseases.
But some diseases make their way into vitae and transfer from Kindred to vessel to Kindred, much as malaria transmits between mosquitoes and kine.
Normally these diseases are only a minor inconvenience to the Kindred host, even if they are of real danger to kine.
Very rarely, a disease mutates, becoming debilitating or life threatening to Kindred.
The Blood Plague (also called the Curse) appears to be one of these mutated diseases.
Kine appear to be immune or to suffer minor health issues which does not affect their day to day activities. They are therefore carriers.
Symptoms in Kindred are: vitae becomes less nourishing; intermittent fevers occur, raising the body temperature to levels which would be fatal for a mortal; the victim is eventually driven to Hunger Frenzy; other forms of Frenzy become more difficult to resist; vitae escapes from every orifice; when the vitae loss slows or stops, the victim withers and dies in a matter of hours.
Some victims manage to go into torpor when the withering stage begins. This probably halts the progression of the disease, though more data is needed. It is possible that it just slows to imperceptible progression speed.
If roused from torpor the disease progression restarts immediately.
Ghouls show variable prognosis. Some are affected little more than kine are. Others show the same progression as Kindred.
It was first detected in Camarilla territory in the late 20th Century.
Many domains in Europe and North America suffered huge mortality rates.
It transmits as if it is a blood borne virus.
There is a virus present in victims and carriers. This appears to be related to the measles virus.
Kine vaccinated against measles show little or no resistance to this virus.
Supernatural elements may be involved in the propagation or survival of the virus.
Ingestion of vitae is the main transmission pathway.
Physical contact with infected vitae may also pass on the disease. Experimental data is ambiguous. Ghouls and kine may be more susceptible to this pathway than Kindred.
Time from first infection to death can be as little as 3 days or as long as 13 weeks.
In the UK it was inadvertently spread by The Circulatory System moving favoured vessels around the country.
Regular full replacement transfusions of uncontaminated blood does not cure the disease but may slow its progression a little.
There is no known cure. But see Supernatural Speculation, below.
There have not been any reported cases of Blood Plague for a few years. (At least not in the circles Dr Summers moves in). If this was a normal disease, this would bring hope that it has run its course, and there are no longer any infected to pass it on.
Some Malkavians claim to be able to detect the aura of Blood Plague victims. This does not appear to be a useful detection method, because so far they have only been able to find sufferers in the final throes of the disease.
Shapeshifters may also be able to detect the victims, as there have been several verified instances of werewolves and werecats breaching the havens of torpid victims.
Rumours keep surfacing that the Blood Plague was defeated through a great ritual sacrifice. Whom was sacrificed by who and where varies from rumour to rumour. The Sabbat believe it was an Aztec style mass human sacrifice in Mexico City. One faction in the Ashirra states the loss of the Tremere Chantry in Vienna was the price paid. Ebony Kingdom Kindred speak of elders of Clan Shango sacrificing themselves.
Theories on the Origin of the Disease
The initial symptoms appear similar to the Blood Sorcery abilities of the Tremere and Banu Haqim: Extinguish Vitae & Cauldron of Blood. The Shango of the Ebony Kingdoms perhaps also possess this discipline.
It is therefore possible the Blood Plague is a creation of one of these Clans, which was deliberately or accidentally released.
The presence of an altered measles virus could also indicate this disease was genetically engineered by kine, specifically by the 2nd Inquisition.
Some biotech companies involved in viral research of this nature are under the influence of shapeshifters and ‘non-standard’ kine.
Whatever the source, its simultaneous appearance in multiple places in Europe and North America gives credence to the theory that this was a deliberate attack on Kindred.