I’m typing this after having killed myself in round for putting up with three separate strains of disease that were not made by anything other than dead bodies. So as of the new changes to dead bodies that removes miasma as a gas that causes a chance to contract low level viruses like a cold, bodies now are hotbeds of infection despite this being contrary to most infectious diseases in reality.
In SS13 a disease is comprised of a number of stats which are as follows
Stealth: This stat governs how challenging it is to detect a disease. Any disease with a stealth score less than two will be detected by Medical Heads up displays analyzers and the kiosks found in medical lobbies (usually).
Transmission: Debatably the most important stat, this stat governs the way in which a disease is transmitted. A virus with a stat of 3 and up will transmit through fluids. If a disease has a transmission of 4 then it will spread with both bodily fluids and blood. At 7 and up a disease can now spread on skin contact with an infected person. At a transmission of 11, the disease can now spread through air, this means that any infected breathing too close to non-infected will spread the disease for simply being in a close proximity to the uninfected. Also important to note is that these transmission vectors are not mutually exclusive, this means that a disease with a stat of 11 can spread through any and all vectors, blood, fluids, contact and air.
Stage Speed: This stat governs how quickly a disease will advance to the next stage from 1 to 5; As the stages progress, the severity of the symptoms worsens. Kind of irrelevant to worry about unless you’re making a disease yourself and you want your good or bad symptoms to kick in faster.
Resistance: This what here is what makes dealing with the new dead body transmission so much “”"“fun”""" in my view. Resistance is what determines the chemical needed to cure an infected host. Writ short, the higher the resistance. the more difficult the cure. At low levels the cure will be something easy, usually found in the dispensers like carbon, silicon, potassium, etc. At higher levels this will make the required chem something difficult to manufacture and dangerous to ingest such as Modafinil or Anacea. Also worth noting is that in the instance of two viruses or more (which is now just about every fucking round) the virus with a higher stat will beat out the lower one meaning the host will only be symptomatic of the disease with the higher resitance.
Severity: This is a ‘hidden’ stat, which basically just alters how an infected person appears to someone with a Medical HUD equipped, blue smileys are good diseases, green neutral are bad, but not severe diseases, orange frowns are fairly bad, red is a very dangerous disease, and flashing red means that the station is about to go from 0 to 100 really quick.
So with those stats in mind, where do they come from? Well every disease is comprised of up to 6symptoms as well. These symptoms in turn provide stats to a virus as well as provide different unique effects to the virus. This can vary from a simple cough, to an effect that heals you with more radiation, to spontaneous combustion, fun right? Symptoms have a numeric value on the different stats of a disease positive or negative, so if you ever have the time to make a good disease (which I seriously doubt you will with how prevalent rot diseases are now good God) make note of what sort of disease you want. Is it a hard to cure but slow to transmit disease that heals the host in darkness? Pay attention to the thresholds for unique effects with different symptoms too as engineering a good disease to do a certain function well can make a middling to inadvertently detrimental disease to a fantastic lifesaver.
Now with what is really just a lengthy preference out of the way its time to talk about how you should go about the handling diseases and preventing them all together.
HEY YOU, Yes you Tony Meatballs the Linguini Cuisine Expert, did you know that any time you grab a body, human or monkey out of the morgue now, you may full well be responsible for the entire crew demanding that the innocent virologist be lynched and have their entrails removed? No? Well pay attention. Bodies now rot which means that they have a chance of infecting the living with a randomly generated disease of around 3 to 4(?) symptoms. Effectively what this means is that anyone that dies, soul death or no is now a grave biohazard to everyone on the station. So what can we do to prevent diseases from ravaging the hulking shitpile floating in the void we call home? Well that comes down to a few key actors on station.
Paramedics: You will either be patient zero or indispensable to curbing diseases as a medic on the station. When someone is calling out they’re being dragged away to maintenance being killed and you’re following close behind to rescue them, you need to be prepared at all times for the possibility that they will be dead when you get there. So what do you do when you find a body? Well before hand you should be equipped with some gear, namely, nitrile or latex gloves on your hands, the jacket and jumpsuit you have at round start, a sterile mask (yes we can’t escape their usefulness in imaginary future space) and most important a chemical called Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical which prevents organ decay on the dead, as well as preventing rot of the body that will spread infectious diseases. Formaldehyde is effective at 1u and is easily administered in patch form, this also has the added benefit of making the Medical Doctors job a lot easier as they will have less organs to replace and can operate on operating tables instead of those slow inefficient junkpile stasis beds. Standard procedure for retrieving bodies should begin with administering forma to stop rot and using a roller bed or fireman carry to bring the now safe body to medical for treatment.
Janitors: Hello my beautiful and woefully underappreciated janitors, you have a hard job ahead of you when it comes to infections. You need to keep the station clean to prevent any single tile that has so much as .1u drop of infectious blood from spreading the most horrific disease in space to the crew. My advice to you all is that your Galoshes can prevent you from trekking more blood bile and fluids to the rest of the station. Additionally, you janitors can find biohazard protection in either their lockers or some vendors (I think). When cleaning a mess that’s possibly infected, it is not a bad idea to have clean internals on, as well as biohazard gear if you feel it necessary. Beyond that, be thorough and efficient, clean any contaminated fluids and just about anything near the pile that is bloody of possibly infected, dispose of in a safe manner (read, toss it out your nearest airlock).
Chemists: Look all I really need you to do is slow the meth factory down for like five whole seconds, go to the medical techfab, get one bar of silver for grinding and make some formaldehyde patches so the doctors and paramedics can safely handle and dispose of bodies, most miners bring at least 2000 mats worth of silver batch back after the first trip to lavaland so there is no reason at all why you can’t do this at round start you speed addicted monkeys. After that make sure that medical staff know that its made and to remind them of how fucking useful this chem is. In the inevitability that a disease does break out, having spaceacillin made can be all the difference in two or three infected hosts and the entire station being paralyzed because they cannot stop dry heaving. If you need a sufficient reason to do any of the above, you know that panicked feeling you get when the whole station is banging on the windows and the hulks are smashing down your airlocks demanding some obscenely difficult to make chemical that will cause anyone who takes it to start shaking violently? Well you won’t need to worry about that if you just make some formaldehyde and spaceacillin at the beginning of your shift! Now get back to pumping out bathsalts for some greyshirt who thinks its the funniest fucking thing.
Medical Doctors/CMO: Everyone is constantly screaming at you ‘heals pls’ and expects you to fix it in a minute flat before they run off un-cauterized to get knocked into crit/die to the very thing they came in for moments ago. In the case of a disease, that person, hemorrhagic brain and all is now a direct threat to your safety as well as the health of the entire crew. To that end, you have a few tools at your disposal to ensure that both you and your patients can be safely treated. Like the medics, I cannot stress how fantastic Formaldehyde is as a drug. This not only makes handling dead bodies safe, it will allow you to leave a body lying around as long as you need as there is no rush to fix them since their organs won’t rot, because the formaldehyde will not metabolize in a dead body. The chemical spaceacillin I mentioned in my tips for the chemists is also an important one. Spaceacillin will not cure you of an infection. It will however prevent the disease you or your patients are infected with from spreading further. My advice is to triage your patients; a dead body has been brought in. Did the medic give them forma on the scene? Good then begin treatment as normal. A dead body was brought in without formaldehyde applied? Get some of that shit on the body ASAP and chastise the medics for being reckless while you fix the poor bastard up. A medics brought in a body and has some sort of face that is not blue or smiling over their health bar? Forma on that body and wrangle that medic to an isolated recovery room to administer spaceacillin to the medic and yourself. After that you notify the CMO that you’ve found a disease so they can yell at chem and viro to begin work on curing it. If the chemists turn traitor or are either too incompetent or high to care, use that pharmacy access you have for good. Once you’ve made the appropriate chem and cured a patient, don’t discharge them right away; instead take a sample of blood from them and place that into a beaker. From there you need to get that beaker to virology so that they can make vaccines. Vaccines are the terminus point for a disease, when you make a chemical to treat an infected patient, you’ll usually need around 5u for it to properly cured them. Vaccines on the other hand are effective at just 0.1u and are best administered in pill form. When the diseases are piling on, and the tide can’t be contained, you can also use a nifty device called a Penlite Holobarrier projector; this will allow you to emit a barrier that will prevent any infected from passing through, useful for preventing those idiots from running around and spreading the disease further, at least until the start dismantling the walls and anything preventing them from breaking into medical so they can shout ‘heals pls’ at you until you all die of whatever funny disease has plagued you.
Security/Detective: Put simply, there is no need for you to bludgeon and violently kill suspects or traitors in the messiest possible way when you can capture and detain them without making a mess, use your sound judgement of a situation to determine what level of force is appropriate. That said, if you are in a lethal shootout, do your best to check your fire for one, and when you or the body drops, try to make it in a place where you or your foe can be easily found and recovered (turn on your sensors you shits).
Virologist: Almost everything I’ve written for the rest of the medical department applies to you as well, but a greater import is placed on you given that diseases are supposed to be your specialty. Acknowledging that, it is also possible to turn what is a bad situation to your advantage. Suppose the following situation: a rot diseases is present and the medical staff manage to successfully quarantine and spaceacillin the infected. If you were a round start virologist, then you will likely have begun engineering a virus of your own; compare the two viruses stats. If your virus has a higher resistance stat, you can finish whatever is needed to complete your disease (ask the CMO to review you impatient bastard) then ask for a doctors assistance to infect the afflicted. Again so long as your virus has the better resistance stat, then the rot virus will be beaten out and you can let the MDs work on whatever treatment the patient needs before they run along as willing or unwilling vector of infection for you (hopefully) useful disease. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, and the situation is not that dire, you can even work to repurpose the rot disease to be something advantageous to the station, as in all things, be robust, that includes your thinking. If you’re a late join virologist, then there is usually not that much time or a much more infectious and prolific disease present; in that even, refer to the advice given to the other medical staff positions and cooperate closely with the MDs and CMO to ensure that vaccines are administered to the crew.
This guide is nowhere near comprehensive, but hopefully there are some useful tips for what I see as some of the most important actors in disease containment and treatment. I also recommend the guide to infections on TGstations wiki as a resource to anyone unfamiliar with infections. Above all else, have some common sense and decency. Sure you may be eager to get back to whatever ingenious griefing device or gimmick you had planned, but cooperate with the medical team when they’re yelling at you that you’ve got an infectious disease. The absolute worst thing you can do is disregard what they’re telling you, run off like a fool and infect everyone else through your negligence.