H5N10 Virus

In the fall of 2009, a divergent strain of the H1N1 influenza virus began circulating among the Evolved population of New York City. This unexpected variant is highly resilient to typical vaccines against H1N1 infection; in some cases, the inoculations can themselves be fatal to infected Evolved, making treatment of this highly contagious disease even more difficult.

To those who know of both, the host specificity of this strain echoes that of a virus discovered in the 1960s, the Shanti Virus, a widely lethal variant of which was nearly unleashed on New York City in early 2009 by the Vanguard. However, its behavior and features are otherwise consistent with influenza. In March of 2010, this strain was re-typed and discovered to contain a novel antigen, making it the first N10 strain (H5N10) ever recorded. It's believed that cross-contamination with H1N1 led to the incorrect initial typing.

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What The H5N10 Does…

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Infection with this influenza strain precipitates a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks cells from its own peripheral nervous system. The disorder can develop over the course of hours or days, or it may take as much as three to four weeks. Symptoms usually peak in severity within the first two weeks after symptoms appear, and by the third week 90 percent of all patients are at their worst state.

Different individuals are affected by the sickness to varying degrees. The reasons for these gradations are not yet fully understood, but are likely the result of natural resistances arising from diet, lifestyle, environment, and genetics. Each level of response is not mutually exclusive of one another; initially mild symptoms could elevate to moderate or even severe. People with symptoms from a higher category will also exhibit those in lower categories. The bullet-listed symptoms are listed in order of typical appearance, and range anywhere from hours between onset to several days between.

Mild

  • Fever/night sweats
  • General fatigue, malaise + muscle cramps/aches
  • Loss of Evolved ability

Moderate

  • Chronic cough, blood in lungs and mucus
  • Alternating occurrences of mania and lethargy
  • Partial paralysis

Severe

  • Hallucinations
  • Coma
  • Death

How Is The H5N10 Virus Contracted?

People who contract the H5N10 virus are most contagious between the second and third days after infection, and infectivity lasts for around ten days. Children are much more infectious than adults and shed virus over the period from just before they develop symptoms until two weeks after infection.

The variant strain can be spread in three main ways: by direct transmission (when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person); the airborne route (when someone inhales the aerosols produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting) and through hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a hand-shake. How long the virus survives in airborne droplets seems to be influenced by the levels of humidity and UV radiation: low humidity and a lack of sunlight in winter aids its survival.

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As the H5N10 virus can persist outside of the body, it can also be transmitted on contaminated surfaces such as money, doorknobs, light switches and other household items. The length of time the virus will persist on a surface varies, with the virus surviving for one to two days on hard, non-porous surfaces such as plastic or metal; for about fifteen minutes on dry paper tissues; and for only five minutes on skin. However, if the virus is present in mucus, it can persist for longer periods (up to 17 days on paper money). It is believed that, like avian influenza, this strain can survive indefinitely when frozen. Infectious particles are inactivated by heating to 56 °C (133 °F) for a minimum of 60 minutes.

What Does The H5N10 Virus Do To Non-Evolved?

Currently this influenza variant has not been found to infect Non-Evolved; as such no effects are known.

How Is The H5N10 Virus Cured?

As is true for influenza in general, there is no cure for this variant strain; the disease will run its course anywhere between six to eight weeks. Infected suffering mild symptoms make a full recovery 9 out of 10 times, while moderate infection has a 40 percent survival rate. Those suffering from severe infection typically die within two to four weeks after presentation of symptoms, with rare exceptions.

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