rosesnake wrote in little_details

Medieval (12th century) outbreak of mystery disease (malaria ?)

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

Hello everybody,

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 ...).  


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