DiseaseWhen discussing TEOTWAWKI and disease, some of you might ask, "What kind of disease could possibly cause society-wide or world-wide devastation? "
To answer this question, we must first consider diseases in general. For the purposes of this article, diseases are defined as abnormal conditions of the human body that are caused by infectious agents such as the smallpox virus (which causes the smallpox disease) and the polio virus (which causes the polio disease). Whether a disease can cause TEOTWAWKI is dependent on two factors, namely its communicability (that is, its contagiousness or infectiousness) and its effect on the victim.
This attribute is used to describe the speed at which a disease is transmitted. For example, someone standing beside a flu patient for several hours will almost definitely catch flu as flu is very contagious. Meanwhile, someone standing beside a cancer patient will not be inflicted with cancer, regardless of how long they stay together. This is because cancer is not contagious. (Do note that cancer is used as an example to illustrate "communicability", but is not a disease under our definition)
Diseases can have various different effects, ranging from painless spots or blemishes to discomfort to paralysis, and even to death. For example, smallpox kills 35% of its victims, while whitepox only kills around 1%. Also to be taken into consideration is the rapidity of the effect- how long it takes for the effect to take place. Some diseases remain dormant in the body for a few weeks, while others rapidly bring death.
For a genuine TEOTWAWKI-causing disease, both these attributes must be present to a high degree. Move on to our Case Study, where we document one such devastating disease- the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, which killed more people than both the World Wars combined.