Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [diseases]

For questions related to a disorder (illness, disease and sickness) that affects the function or structure of an organism.

8
votes
6answers
700 views

Enclosed space colony and spread of common viruses

Cold and Flu, are common viruses which normally infect us in the cold of winter. Ironically, those people who always keep themselves warm, stay less out-of-the-house and office, keep their windows ...
7
votes
3answers
221 views

Scientifically Correct Hanahaki Disease?

For those who don't know, Hanahaki Disease is a fictional disease related to love. It can happen when someone has unrequited romantic feelings for someone, so flowers start growing inside them. The ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Likelihood that a superbug or lethal virus could come from a landfill

Landfills seem like disgusting, nasty places that could be breeding grounds for all sorts of viruses and bacteria. What is the likelihood that the next lethal superbug or virus (like Ebola) could ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

Is it possible to engineer airborne Ebola?

In my world, a mad scientist wanted to end humanity and he was looking for something with a high mortality rate. He found Ebola. But it's not airborne though. Could it be possible to genetically ...
0
votes
3answers
147 views

Portals to other worlds and disease

Say character A develops an ability to travel to other worlds where no one from her world has been before but the world contains native organic sentient populations that are similar/the same in ...
5
votes
0answers
221 views

The effects of a lifetime wearing an Iron mask [closed]

Man with the Iron mask In my story I have a character who is of high nobility who is forced to wear an iron mask covering his whole head to hide (unspecified) birth deformities. Other than eyeholes ...
5
votes
3answers
180 views

How Could a Disease that Lowers the Intelligence of Humans to Non-Sapient Levels Exist?

I am curious if there is a way for a disease to negatively effect the intelligence of humans;reducing them to non-sapient ferals in the end. I am curious what such a disease would need to do to ...
4
votes
6answers
198 views

How can a terrorist group link a biological plague to a specific genetic signature?

A domestic terrorist organization has come to light due to recent terror attacks that they claim responsibility for. This group has developed a biological weaponized plague that attacks the nervous ...
0
votes
2answers
181 views

How much raw pig's blood could a person swallow without getting sick? [closed]

I know there are some animals that you can safely drink from. Bear Grylls once drank the blood of an Elk, for example. In a story I'm writing, I'm including a birthday ritual where the sons and ...
4
votes
4answers
351 views

Ideal Time Period for a Global Pandemic

I'm trying to figure out what period of time in human history gives an influenza-like virus the best chance of exterminating 80% of human life within the span of no more than 2 years. Basically, it ...
-1
votes
1answer
267 views

What would happen if you went swimming in a spent fuel pool?

If one of my modern-day characters, a nuclear power-plant worker decides to take a swim in one of these pools, what will happen? Would he die, get sick, or not much?
15
votes
20answers
3k views

How could a plague that killed off the dinosaurs come back?

In my story, something pretty insane happens during the 3rd season. The common conception was that an asteroid strike contributed to the extinction to dinosaurs, but unbeknownst to all it was not a ...
31
votes
10answers
8k views

In theory, could all mammals be wiped out by a single pathogen?

Pathogen Note: For the purpose of this question I define a pathogen to include viruses and/or bacteria. Edit: I don't exclude other biological agents such as fungi that might have the same effect. ...
1
vote
1answer
149 views

I Need Help With Human Degenerative Disease (HDD) [closed]

I am currently working on a post-apocalyptic world where roughly 90% of humanity get infected by HDD (Human Degenerative Disease). HDD causes the human brain, glands and tissues to change quite ...
1
vote
5answers
136 views

plants growth in humans

In my world, there is a bad 'disease' where spores of a plant enter the human body and start to grow with the human. it doesn't kill the human but its painful. the plant enters the ear and attaches ...
5
votes
3answers
202 views

A parasite that infects humans who are over the age of 25

I want to know if the disease I invented is logical or just a total fiction. A parasite (parasitic fungus) lives within the human brain. It infects other humans by releasing spores while invoking ...
4
votes
5answers
286 views

How would a nanorobot disease be identified by a scientist

it's pretty straight forward, how could a scientist such as a doctor, identify that nano-robots are the cause of some disease without knowing what it is looking for ? It would somehow need to be by ...
5
votes
2answers
170 views

Minimum percentage of immune when epidemic lowers IQ in the 80's?

I have an epidemic of unknown origin spreading across the earth. The effects are decrease in cognitive ability to around 80+ IQ. So we have a surgeons who don't know how to operate, engineers who don'...
0
votes
3answers
253 views

Zombie infection is worse than imagined: how can humanity survive? [closed]

This plague takes some of the worst from every zombie movie you might have seen and puts it together. It's airborne and can survive for a week in the air, and it is transmitted to humans through all ...
5
votes
3answers
269 views

Making a Plague Worse?

Starting in 541–542 AD, the Plague of Justinian and a series of subsequent outbreaks killed between 13-26% of the world's population. The plagues were caused by Yersinia pestis, the same microorganism ...
-4
votes
2answers
195 views

“An Even Blacker Death”, This Time in the 21st Century [closed]

Long ago, I asked a question as to how the culture of Europe would be affected if, instead of one-quarter or half of medieval Europe's population got killed by the black death but two out of three or ...
0
votes
0answers
133 views

Would germs brought back in time by a time traveler threaten to kill the population of the past? [duplicate]

This question is in direct response to the early comments on my last question: Time traveler has identified a unknown epidemic is likely spread by mosquitos. How much can he help combat it? The ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Time traveler has identified a unknown epidemic is likely spread by mosquitos. How much can he help combat it?

In the world I'm envisioning, an individual has been accidently sent to a sort of alternate history version of the world, one that is at roughly feudal level of tech/culture, but with the nations ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Virus-like contagion with limited activity time

I'm looking for ideas for a highly contagious airborne biological weapon (virus, bacteria, other) that would kill its host in a matter of days to a week or so, but that, once all infected hosts are ...
3
votes
5answers
301 views

Disease that targets only teenagers

Would it be possible to have a disease that only affected people in a certain age group, more specifically, teenagers? And what would the virus be targeting?
30
votes
13answers
4k views

With future knowledge, can I prevent the Columbian Exchange epidemics?

I have traveled back to the 15th century with the goal of facilitating the discovery of the Americas by the rest of the world without causing epidemics to wipe out 90% of the American population. How ...
0
votes
2answers
136 views

Could this work as an epidemic?

Essentially, I have a virus which temporarily turns people into psychopaths. This virus is being used by my antagonists to collapse a city. I will be using a lysogenic virus which is triggered by ...
8
votes
7answers
754 views

Quarantine period for a new alien civilization found

Most science fiction stories and movies (from Star Trek to Close Encounters of the 3rd kind, ET, and many many others) assume one day we will eventually be able to contact physically the alien ...
11
votes
6answers
352 views

How could a seemingly-harmless virus become deadly at a predetermined date and time?

A secret group of environmentalist ultra-extremists has engineered a virus (or virus-like pathogen) with the purpose of making all of humanity extinct (yes, including themselves). They are aware that ...
-2
votes
2answers
109 views

Which current disease comes close enough to this one? [closed]

During the Second Cold War, the United States government teams up with the CDC and Atlas Biotech to create a disease powerful enough to wipe out whole countries. It has to fit all the set up criteria, ...
4
votes
5answers
490 views

Making a disease that makes you decompose while still alive?

So, before a large nuclear war engulfed the earth, the USA government ordered two private contractors, Gene-Tek and Atlas Biotech, to create a disease called Hyper Necrosis. It is supposed to make a ...
6
votes
2answers
116 views

How Predictable Is The Development Of Immunity To A Disease?

Diseases in nature tend to naturally become less virulent over time, in part, because the disease vector changes and in part because the host population develops immunity to it. How possible is it, ...
6
votes
6answers
932 views

A cure, a vaccine, and one tricky disease

FINAL UPDATE: Thank you for your amazing points and answers, everyone! I mixed up all your ideas and posted the final answer as a community wiki. So, I'm developing a bacterial infection where the ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

Would there be any bacterial illness aboard a generation-ship? [closed]

Okay, so I know that severe, life-threatening illness such as rabies which has a 100% chance of death without treatment and Ebola which has a 50% chance of death would not be allowed because that ...
5
votes
10answers
473 views

How can androids suffer from a virus that spreads by contact

I'm toying with an idea to have a plague sweep across the galaxy in my story. At first I was thinking to have a plague, something similar to the Black Death, devastate populations across the galaxy. ...
3
votes
5answers
330 views

Human hybrids and prion diseases

How genetically different do my human-arthropod hybrid have to be to humans to not be at risk of prion diseases when eating humans? I don't want my monsters to eat a brain for a quick snack and then ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

Any poisons that mimic Syphilis?

In my tabletop RPG story the wife of a rich noble killed her husband. Her story is that he cheated on her and when she told him that she knew, he tried to kill her and she only defended herself. ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Odds of survivability when encountering new bacteria in Earth-like planet's atmosphere? [duplicate]

So, let's say you have two planets in parallel universes. Travel is possible between Earth and the second planet via wormholes or whatever (not important). While the oxygen-nitrogen-et cetera ratios ...
8
votes
5answers
372 views

How can a pre-modern culture survive a sustained invasion accompanied by epidemics?

Assume the following situation: A pre-modern culture A exists on continent/island X with no previous contact with culture B (the invaders). Culture B discovers and invades X and the lands of A intend ...
0
votes
2answers
104 views

Disease Impacts of Ancient Roman Contact with New World

In an alternate timeline, Ceasar lives, forges an alliance by marriage with Egypt and dominates the entire Mediterranean. He then performs a raft of economic and political reforms that basically skip ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

What would happen if 90% of the population had learning problems [closed]

Lets say a terrorist group developed a prion or something similar that when it was introduced into a human brain caused things to start backfiring and rewiring. They released a large enough quantity ...
41
votes
11answers
11k views

Would time travelling to the present be lethal to a person from the 1200s?

John Smith is a time traveller from the year 2018, he goes back in time to the year 1200 and in the process falls in love with a woman of that era. He doesn't want to abandon her so he decides to ...
-3
votes
3answers
87 views

I need a situation where people are angry at a person for getting a stroke [closed]

I need this situation for starting up a story: Person A is loved by his surroundings and lives a generally good and healthy life. Person A gets a stroke and gets to the hospital, after 4 weeks, ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Can a lack of diseases in the medieval period lead to overpopulation?

In the Middle Ages, it was necessary for a couple to have as many children as possible because many children died before reaching adult age. Much of this was due to rampant disease and lack of medical ...
9
votes
5answers
425 views

Magic is tied to the immune system. What happens to mages who overextend their abilities?

My magic system involves all organisms producing a sort of energy field that acts as their immune system. If someone casts "too big" a spell - draining too much of their energy and compromising their ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

How would industrial civilizations contacting each other for the first time protect themselves from diseases?

In a world big enough for human civilizations as knowledgeable about medicine as ours to develop without contacting each other, how could they initiate that contact without exposing each other to ...
1
vote
3answers
159 views

Feeding in a new world-what we can avoid? [closed]

Imagine that there is a possibility of starting all over again, and create a new world. At the food level what mistakes we could avoid making so there are not so many diseases? What foods should not ...
19
votes
10answers
4k views

How to keep a ship's crew healthy in a fantasy renaissance setting?

So, in the age of sail, there where hundreds of dangers lurking in ships, mostly in the form of sickness such as scurvy, and I'm looking for a way to have sailors in a similar technology level as ...
2
votes
3answers
288 views

What is an illness that would prevent someone from eating for several days?

I'm trying to find a common or easily transmitted illness that would prevent a person from eating for several days (or keeping down/digesting food). I know there are a lot of things that can make ...