The Science of Vampires
In 1616, Italian scientist Ludovico Fatinelli published his Treatise on Vampires, in which he speculated that vampirism was caused by a microscopic pathogen. He was burned at the stake for heresy. Fortunately, science plowed ahead, undeterred. The information included in this section is the result of the work of countless dedicated men and women.
the bat flea
The source of vampirism is the Human Vampiric Virus (HVV). Like Rabies, HVV belongs to the order Mononegavirales, viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genome. Viruses in this group have a distinct bullet shape. The virus' natural host is a flea commonly found on cave-dwelling bats, especially the vampire bat. In the most common scenario, a bat which has been bitten by the flea passes the virus on to livestock and humans through a bite.
Unlike many other viruses, the HVV virus is not airborne. Airborne viruses can travel from one host to another through the air and quickly cause an outbreak by infecting a significant number of people through the air ventilation systems in large public buildings, like for example a casino or a shopping mall.
While in theory HVV infection is possible through any exchange of bodily fluids, transmission occurs through the bite of an infected person in virtually every case.
Stages of the Disease
Stage One: Infection. Within hours of being bitten, the victim develops a headache, fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms as the body tries to fight off the infection. These symptoms can be easily confused with more common viral infections, although the presence of bite marks on the body are usually enough to confirm the diagnosis. This stage generally lasts between six and twelve hours, during which the vaccine is 100 percent effective.
|Electron micrograph of HVV (left);|
The virus budding off an infected cell (right)
Stage Two: Vampiric Coma. Within 24 hours of being bitten, the victim will slip into a vampiric coma. During this phase, the pulse slows, breathing is shallow and the pupils are dilated. The large numbers of people mistakenly buried alive while in vampiric comas gave rise to the myth that vampires sleep in coffins. While it is commonly thought that anyone infected with HVV turns into a vampire, in fact only a small percentage of people survive vampiric comas. Generally, the young, the old and the feeble never come out of their vampiric comas and eventually die.
The vast majority of people who survive vampiric comas are males between the ages of 18 to 35. Vampiric comas last about a day; the victim usually comes out of the coma the night after its onset. The vaccine is 50 percent effective when administered during Stage Two of the infection: the longer the victim has been in the coma, the less effective the vaccine.
|In 1800 France, an infected|
woman is given a transfusion of
goat's blood, a desperate, futile
measure to ward off the disease
Stage Three: Transformation. A bite victim who survives the coma will awaken fully transformed into a vampire. An acclimation period follows, characterized by confusion, despondency and paranoia. Most vampires begin to hunt within 24 hours of transformation. The vaccine is of no use at this point.
|During vampire epidemics,|
many victims were buried while
still in a vampiric coma
Part II - Vampire Biology
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