120 votes
Accepted

What do you do with all the bodies?

Meta-logistics for the author The problem that you — as the author — have is this: how do you kill off 95% of the world's population by means of a plague, without having the corpses cause so much ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.8k
108 votes
Accepted

Reasons why healthy people would intentionally want to get infected?

Natural Vaccination. Read about how Cowpox was used to vaccinate against Smallpox, this is our IRL first instance of vaccination against a disease. The word “vaccination,” coined by Jenner in 1796,...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 34.7k
90 votes
Accepted

If I went back in time, how could I handle being among the Black Death and survive?

If you have European ancestry, are aged between 19 and 45, physically fit, and are able to maintain a healthy diet, the chances of you being brought down by the plague would be very little. Read this ...
Youstay Igo's user avatar
  • 20.6k
86 votes

What disease affects only the non-peasants?

Proximity to Animals Vaccinates Peasants Small pox was like this. Milkmaids had exposure to cow pox, so were somewhat immune to the more dangerous small pox. If there were a deadly disease (like small ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 2,677
83 votes

Politics and Zombies: Designing a balanced zombie plague that could realistically destroy civilization due to poor decision-making

Zombification as a Cure for Death: Scientists make a breakthrough, a biological treatment for aging. It is so effective, that government agencies can't resist the pressure to approve it, OR the ...
DWKraus's user avatar
  • 63.6k
80 votes

What would be the best way to get clean, drinkable water in a medieval city?

While distilling leaves you with absolutely clean water, it is very costly. The constant need of burning material is a real problem if a bigger amount of water is required. But fortunately, there is ...
T3 H40's user avatar
  • 1,448
80 votes

Reasons why healthy people would intentionally want to get infected?

Because some self-proclaimed health guru claims that it's good for you to have that disease. The miracle-virus causes your body to absorb free cosmic energies. Your constantly raising body ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 48.7k
80 votes
Accepted

Reasons for my dark ages world to have no horses at all

The horses cannot be domesticated You say... It is useful to my story line to eliminate horses as a mode of fast travel Well then, that is easy. In your alternate world... Horses have the ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.8k
76 votes
Accepted

Mental condition that spreads through social contact

This is going on on Earth even as we speak! We're talking about ... Ideas. They are spread through social contact, some prospective hosts can fight them off, but some succumb and spread them further....
akaioi's user avatar
  • 9,418
68 votes

If I went back in time, how could I handle being among the Black Death and survive?

There are three forms of the plague, bubonic (famously from fleas), septicemic (as much from other infected people, like those with bubonic plague) and pneumonic (also from other infected people). If ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
64 votes

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

She would likely need a full round of vaccinations, just like everyone else in the modern world. If anything modern sanitary conditions would be less likely to spread diseases to her. I would ...
Josh King's user avatar
  • 24.9k
60 votes
Accepted

What disease affects only the non-peasants?

Spices Spices were rare, expensive, and prestigious. A powerful merchant class has found a new spice, and its use spreads rapidly because, like all spices, it is light and easy to carry, with much ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 28.9k
59 votes

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

Pre-emption is the best prevention There is no way to do it with 15th century technology. But. The best course of action is to pre-empt the epidemics by running them early. Use your time traveling ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 89.1k
56 votes
Accepted

How to prevent humans from being killed by alien diseases?

I am going to frame challenge this question. Why is this a problem? Are the aliens sexually compatible with humans? Can we see human/alien hybrids? Or perhaps their alien-cows can breed with human ...
Questor's user avatar
  • 1,681
55 votes
Accepted

Could a time traveler prevent the Black Plague?

Prevent the plague? No. However, if he could somehow convince enough rulers and authoritative persons that the plague is carried by fleas (Xenopsylla cheopis) abandoning dying and dead rats (mostly ...
A. I. Breveleri's user avatar
50 votes
Accepted

Can we get rid of all illnesses by a year of Total Extreme Quarantine?

Only for SOME types of illnesses. Even then there are problems. Some illnesses are not infectious. That means quarantine does nothing to slow them down. (a) Genetic illnesses. For example autoimmune ...
Daron's user avatar
  • 66.2k
50 votes

What disease affects only the non-peasants?

Gout Known historically as the disease of kings, identified by the Egyptians in 2640 BC, and listed in the Ebers Papyrus (1500BC). It's basically caused by eating too much rich food over a long period,...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
49 votes

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

Yes, but not in the way you are thinking. One way this could happen is if some killer fungus starts growing unchecked throughout the planet, on land and sea. By killing all plant life it would destroy ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
48 votes

A realistic explanation of a typical Plague-inc "infect everyone before you start killing them" strategy

An infection suddenly becoming lethal after infecting a majority of the population is pure fiction. The closest real world analogue are diseases that have an asymptomatic infectious phase before ...
sphennings's user avatar
  • 21.4k
48 votes

"A disease killed a king in six months. What disease was it?" Fantasy, some magical healing

Cancer Leukemia if the king is young, colorectal cancer if the king is older. If the magical healers can't affect cellular division, excising tumours would only slow things down, and would probably ...
jdunlop's user avatar
  • 32k
47 votes
Accepted

Disease that requires regular medicine

There are many, many diseases that require 'maintenance drugs': Heart disease Requires beta blockers, diuretics, statins for cholesterol management. Risk of death due to heart attack or stroke is ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 3,848
47 votes

How do I ensure that two characters survive the black death without making them naturally immune?

The Black Death - bubonic plague - has a mortality rate of 50-70%, so even with no other measures there's a pretty good chance of any two people surviving at random (about 25% if you take the lower ...
David Hambling's user avatar
45 votes

A realistic explanation of a typical Plague-inc "infect everyone before you start killing them" strategy

The most egregious break from reality in Plague-Inc is that every pathogen around the globe suddenly mutates from harmless to lethal at the same time. This is not how real-world diseases work. When ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 48.7k
44 votes

Politics and Zombies: Designing a balanced zombie plague that could realistically destroy civilization due to poor decision-making

Tertiary COVID When a person gets syphilis, there are multiple stages. First there is a local sore at the site (primary syphilis), then a rash all over the body (secondary syphilis), and much later, ...
Mike Serfas's user avatar
  • 21.8k
43 votes
Accepted

What disease could my time traveler find a definitive 'cure' for, without recognizing the specific disease

Cholera. If you want to emphasize methodical scientific method you could do worse than to copy John Snow, one of the founders of modern epidemiology. 150th Anniversary of John Snow and the Pump Handle ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
42 votes

Reasons why healthy people would intentionally want to get infected?

An excuse to avoid something worse The virus could be a valid excuse for anyone not wanting to go to war or being involved in a forced marriage.
Eric Duminil's user avatar
42 votes

What would be the average civilian's first hints that a zombie apocalypse was near in a pre-mass internet world?

We used to read newspapers and watch the news. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/history/hiv-and-aids-timeline 1981 June 5: The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) publishes an article in its ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
40 votes

Reasons why healthy people would intentionally want to get infected?

Believe it or not, there are people who purposefully seek to be infected with HIV. These people are referred to as "Bugchasers". Lethality: Well, HIV doesn't kill you directly, and those ...
Harabeck's user avatar
  • 1,843
39 votes

What disease affects only the non-peasants?

Create an expensive but toxic fad It was common in the 16th century for especially west-European nobility to paint their faces with substances containing lead, in order to appear as white as possible ...
Joachim's user avatar
  • 4,666

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible