The disease known as black rot as been an infrequent but persistent plague upon the human population of Sabiralsahra ever since it first appeared. There is no known cure and should the disease become chronic, it is inevitably fatal. As those who suffer from it themselves becomes sources of infection, they are forced to isolate themselves as much as possible. The disease is even harder on the nomadic tribes that wander the deserts of Sabiralsahra. Frequently, they will gather as much water as they can from a stop, only to realise later that much it is contaminated, usually with most, if not all, of the members of the tribe having been infected. The desert wind occasionally reveals the sad remains of entire caravan that fell to the ravages of the black rot. Fortunately, as the disease is rather obvious, once it breaks out it can be rapidly contained and the source decontaminated. Despite this, the disease has never been fully eradicated and many suspect that the black rot is more than just an illness.
Transmission & Vectors
Black rot transmit through fluids, both in the form of water and bodily fluids, and it thrives in warm climates. The disease is contagious at every stage of its development.
Black rot is found in the wild in contaminated water sources, usually infecting humans when they stop to drink. Infected wells or oasisses are a serious danger to travelers.
Black rot causes the breakdown of tissue and the build-up of pus. Black weeping sores begin showing on the skin. Wet, labored breathing often follows as the longs are damaged. Various internal organs starts being affected, causing heartaches, bloody diarrhea, headache, joint pains. Late stage symptoms include dementia, heart attacks, blindness, loss of limbs and similar.
Black rot is very hard to treat. In most cases, all that can be done is attempt to make the patient comfortable and hope they can fight the infection off themselves. Patients have to wear thick clothes in public to limit the risk of them spreading the disease. The bacteria dies if exposed to sub-zero temperatures, so some have experiment with magic to harmlessly freeze the patient, but such attempts have had wildly varying results. While in many cases the disease was cured, the treatment also often damaged the patient, sometimes fatally. The most succesful attempts at fighting the black rot has been with the ophidian viziers of Suqara, an order of sages composed entirely of black rot survivors. Through meditation and communion with the goddess Maya, the viziers can eventually slough off their humanity and thus makes themselves immune to its touch. But not everyone is willing to cast off their humanity and instead search for cures elsewhere.
Depending on the health of the infected, there is a chance their body can fight off the infection on its own. However, should the patient be unable to fight off the infection within the first ten to thirty cycles, depending on the individual, the disease usually becomes chronic. At this point, the patient's health will rapidly decline and death is certain barring extraordinary circumstances.
Due to the broad scale of damage inflicted by the black rot, the sufferer becomes susceptible to all manner of other ills. Infection of sores by various insects and similar is quite common, as they become attracted by the scent of decaying flesh.
The disease exclusively affects humans. The elderly or very young are most at risk of having the disease become chronic.
Samples from wells suspected of being at risk are analyzed be alchemists and chemists. If the water source is contaminated, only way to rid it of the disease while still leaving a viable drinking hole is having a mage freeze the water solid and then unfreeze it.
The disease takes a few cycles to get going. In this period, dozens upon dozens of people can be infected by the same water source. Once the disease starts breaking out, the source is usually quickly located and the infected can be isolated from the general community, which usually halts its spread.
The first recorded cases still on file date back to 1892 AIT. Since then, the disease has plagued the human population of Sabiralsahra.
The disease is highly feared by the humans of Sabiralsahra and those suffering from it are considered victims of the highest order. The existence of the disease serves as a continual source of friction between human and jinn society. As the disease first appeared after the War of Broken Chains, many suspect that the disease was created by the jinn as a sort of punishment for the rebellious humans. Or even worse, since the disease can be fought of by the hale and hearty, an attempt at weeding out the weakest of humanity before a campaign of re-enslavement. Most jinn deny this, but some of them do point out that it is not inconceivable and that the disease might have been created as a weapon against the insurgents during the War of Broken Chains. They speculate that its origins might be found in some of the abandoned jinn settlements still hidden in the dunes. Several expeditions have been mounted to find evidence of this, but so far there is no conclusive proof. The most famous sufferer of the disease is the sage Jafar al-Kazi. Contracting the black rot during an expedition, he was unable to fight off the disease and could find no cure or treatment. Instead, he journeyed to the shrine of Maya and begged the goddess for aid. She agreed to aid him in return for him completing a series of quests for her. Upon his success, she was so impressed by cleverness and kindness, that not only did she teach him the skills needed to cast of his humanity and thus the disease, but also took him as one of her lovers. Jafar would go on to found the Ophidian Viziers of Suqara, in order to help others who like him were otherwise destined to die from the black rot.