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The presence of diseases on Safehold

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The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by Tararoys   » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:42 pm

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Now, if I were the planners of Operation Ark, I would remove every communicable disease I could from the population. Aides, Chlamydia, Influenza, measles, mumps, the works. For you more scientifically minded denizens, what diseases could have been successfully eradicated? Which ones would it have been impossible to eradicate?

I'm thinking that since every colonist had nanotech killing off all infectious germs in their hosts, that pretty much every disease we know wouldn't have had hosts that could actually host them. Only when people started having children did a vulnerable population, one that could host diseases, emerge. Would the children have emerged fast enough to support, say, the flu?

And how much would Pasquale be able to leave out of the book of Pasquale because there was no need to enumerate all the various diseases?

Duchairn is referred to has having a cold, so I think the rhinovirus made it. What other diseases do you think traveled from earth?
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by CanoeSage   » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:37 pm

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Tararoys wrote:Now, if I were the planners of Operation Ark, I would remove every communicable disease I could from the population. Aides, Chlamydia, Influenza, measles, mumps, the works. For you more scientifically minded denizens, what diseases could have been successfully eradicated? Which ones would it have been impossible to eradicate?

I'm thinking that since every colonist had nanotech killing off all infectious germs in their hosts, that pretty much every disease we know wouldn't have had hosts that could actually host them. Only when people started having children did a vulnerable population, one that could host diseases, emerge. Would the children have emerged fast enough to support, say, the flu?

And how much would Pasquale be able to leave out of the book of Pasquale because there was no need to enumerate all the various diseases?

Duchairn is referred to has having a cold, so I think the rhinovirus made it. What other diseases do you think traveled from earth?


Infectious disease is a bit of a hobby for me as my mother is an Infectious Disease MD specialist and my brother is an Immunology PDH. (Although I don't have any formal education in the area).

Scientifically speaking, your point is an excellent observation. Practically nothing -should- have survived the move from Earth given some of the technologies we've seen and even a slight bit of caution on the command crew's part. Let's talk about the different vectors.

Certainly, no diseases that have an exclusive human host would have survived in a 100% nanovacinated population. This should include everything on the list of diseases that we're working on Eradicating today, and a whole lot more that aren't on the list. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eradicati ... s_diseases

Diseases that have nonhuman hosts are a bit tougher. The flu, for instance, interacts with humans, birds, and pigs. However, livestock in the colony mission would have had to be grown from embryos or put in cryo. I'm betting on the embryos, which would have eliminated that vector for disease.

I suppose that command crew pets would be a vector (remember that Shan Wei had hampsters). However, I would expect that any animals (either pets or livestock) would have "had their shots" which probably would have included a nanovacine.

Environmental vector diseases such as Tetanus (commonly found in dirt) and the various versions of Staph (commonly found on human skin and in the nose) would be harder to get rid of. I'd probably classify Rhinovirus in this group. But a deep clean and decontamination on the colony ships might have been able to eliminate them too.

The final grouping of infectious diseases is those that arise from good microbes in bad circumstances. The human gut has (and needs) a huge number of different microbes. Spread to other parts of the human body, these can cause issues. Similarly, I would speculate that the microbes used in food production (yogurt, cheese, yeast for breads) could mutate or get into situations where they cause problems. And who knows what microbiomes are considered necessary for terraformed cropland! This risk is probably not possible to eliminate, but who knows how it might have been mitigated with the gene engineering tech present in this store.

All of this leaves aside the concept of a 'homegrown' alien disease that can affect humans. David talked about this in the Honorverse a bit, but we have no scientific baseline.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by schoeffelk   » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:49 pm

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I agree and disagree. Each 'animal', including man, has normal flora that the body needs to survive. In humans, gut bacteria make Vitamin K which helps us make blood clots. These normal bacteria can mutate and swap parts of their genomes. That is why we get drug resistant bacteria.

Also there is the difference between clean and sterile. The ships were not made in a sterile environment. There are bacteria that become spores to survive. Viruses can last for a long time in certain environments. I'm not even getting into prions.

They would have gotten rid of the big nasties, but Mother Nature has a way. Then you get to the native lifeforms... and what other necessary animals were brought? Bees, earthworms, ...?
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by Dalin   » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:21 am

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I would not be surprised, if some long dead diseases were introduced back to Safehold population to support Holy Writ teachings.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by noblehunter   » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:45 am

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There's also the possibility of some idiot re-introducing something during the war of the fallen.

One reason to keep milder diseases around would be if they help protect against nastier strains that might have survived the techno-scrubbing. A virgin soil epidemic right after the last archangels took off would be a very bad thing.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by Julia Minor   » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:33 pm

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noblehunter wrote:There's also the possibility of some idiot re-introducing something during the war of the fallen.


As I recall, RFC mentioned in another thread in this subforum that a bioweapon was used during that war.

We know at least one disease eradicated in the Terran Federation has reappeared on Safehold -- the person used to conceal the bomb that nearly got Hektor and Iris was suffering from late-stage Alzheimer's, and Merlin's internal narration stated Alzheimer's had been wiped out before the Gbaba.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by schoeffelk   » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:53 pm

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This gets back to the topic of what 'disease' are you talking about. Disease as caused by a bacteria, parasite, virus, occupation or environment is much different than those caused by genetics.

All genetic diseases come down to a spontaneous mutation that gave an advantage or didn't kill you until after you were able to procreate. Examples sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's, ...
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by evilauthor   » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:55 pm

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Julia Minor wrote:
noblehunter wrote:There's also the possibility of some idiot re-introducing something during the war of the fallen.


As I recall, RFC mentioned in another thread in this subforum that a bioweapon was used during that war.

We know at least one disease eradicated in the Terran Federation has reappeared on Safehold -- the person used to conceal the bomb that nearly got Hektor and Iris was suffering from late-stage Alzheimer's, and Merlin's internal narration stated Alzheimer's had been wiped out before the Gbaba.


Wait... I dunno much about Alzheimer's, but I thought it was caused by the aging process as human body functions break down, not by bacteria or viruses. If Alzheimer's was caused by external pathogens instead of natural aging, I would think it wouldn't exclusively be an old person's disease.

Unless the Archangels could genetically engineer people to stop aging entirely (which even the Federation explicitly couldn't do), then health problems due to pure aging are inevitably going to make a comeback in the Safehold population.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by Randomiser   » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:41 am

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Julia Minor wrote:
noblehunter wrote:There's also the possibility of some idiot re-introducing something during the war of the fallen.


As I recall, RFC mentioned in another thread in this subforum that a bioweapon was used during that war.

We know at least one disease eradicated in the Terran Federation has reappeared on Safehold -- the person used to conceal the bomb that nearly got Hektor and Iris was suffering from late-stage Alzheimer's, and Merlin's internal narration stated Alzheimer's had been wiped out before the Gbaba.


There are a number of things with environmental triggers which the TF could prevent or fix, which will recur on Safehold once the fixes are no longer available; some cancers, various kinds of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, gout, type 2 diabetes, also degenerative conditions like arthritis, macular degeneration and some other causes of blindness. (No matter what Pasquale said you know not everyone will follow the dietary and exercise routines perfectly) We don't really know what brings on Alzheimer's but it is probably in there somewhere.

I seem to remember that Army camps in Safehold are still prone to diseases, where Pasquale's directives are not fully carried out at least, which suggests that getting faecal bacteria in your water supply is till a bad idea there.
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Re: The presence of diseases on Safehold
Post by Julia Minor   » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:20 am

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evilauthor wrote:
Wait... I dunno much about Alzheimer's, but I thought it was caused by the aging process as human body functions break down, not by bacteria or viruses.


There's some research indicating that there's a genetic link to Alzheimer's -- my sister-in-law lost both her parents to Alzheimer's, and is understandably concerned about what this indicates for her future. I haven't heard whether that link is just a predisposition to develop the disease, or if it's truly caused by the gene(s) in question ... or if that line of research is totally off and the cause is something else.

It's possible that the standard TF nanny-shots scrubbed amyloid plaques out of the brain, "curing" Alzheimer's without actually eliminating the cause. If that's the case, then any disease with a genetic link could be found on Safehold if the bearer could survive in a low-tech environment long enough to reproduce.
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