Already searched : “medieval illness/disease”, “medieval epidemics”, “epidemics”, etc + the various diseases that presented themselves during those searches but without much success for my specific set of requirements. So I turn to you lovely people for help ...
Setting : Medieval (late 12th century) - Middle east (present day Lebanon) in a big city along the coast
I need a disease which can hit my medieval middle eastern city and kill a portion of its inhabitants.
Here my various criterias :
The outbreaks starts in mid/late June, peaks in July and August and is mostly gone by the end of August with a few people still dying in early September.
I don't want to wipe them out. I just need something which would cause a significant number of person to die but leave enough people alive so that society doesn't crumble (let say a third/half the population gets it and about half / two thirds of the sick people die but I'm really not fussy with number, basically enough to be noticeable and worrying enough for people to leave the city and be scared of catching it but something from which they rebound easily enough without much consequences beside the loss of family members/friends.)
It can be a common disease which has a sudden outbreak (people are not really surprised, this may be something which happens from time to time) : something they are familiar with but which usually only kills a couple of people here and there, except when there is a sudden outbreak like this and a lot of people fall ill at the same time before the illness runs its course and disappears again.
The illness can be foodborne, waterborne, weather dependant, etc whatever you want. BUT it must not be contagious people to people : I need it to remains limited to this one city, not spreading to others even if a few infected people do move to other places during the illness and die there (or at least they only cause a couple of cases in those other cities, no more than usual).
Similarily the symptoms may be anything you like but I have a few requirements there too :
- Someone (an older woman) may catch it, be fine for 2 to 3 weeks (maybe with very mild symptoms slowly worsening) then suddenly manifest the illness (having in the meantime travelled to another place).
- An infected person (same older woman) may die within 2 weeks of declaring the illness (other, stronger people may be sick for longer than that but generally not for less than 10 days).
- A person dying of it must be conscious enough to speak shortly before death (not a lot, just enough to tell someone she wants a gift to be made to some church after she dies).
- Someone (middle aged man, strong and otherwise healthy, from a wealthy family with access to the best of care) may recover from the illness, be reasonably alright for a week or two (enough to get out of bed) then fall ill again and die of it (maybe because he got out of bed). But those who survive the disease may be quite weak for a lenght of time as a general rule (this man is quite stuborn and build as an ox).
I have eliminated diphteria, cholera, hepatitis A, yellow fever, dysentery, influenza ...
I was thinking malaria.
Would it fit ? Or is there something which prevents it from working within my parameters ?
Thanks a lot to anyone who takes the time to help me (kill those people ...).