First off, we're starting off with one of the diseases that belongs in a classic educational video game called The Oregon Trail (first started in 1971 before making its way to the Apple II computers in 1985), and that disease is a memetic illness called... dysentery.
What Is It?: An inflammatory disease of the intestine, especially of the colon. The most common form is bacillary dysentery; another one can be amoebic dysentery.
Signs and Symptoms: Mild gut pains, frequent passage of stool or diarrhea (normally present after 1-3 days, no longer present after a week); intense abdominal pains, severe diarrhea with blood or mucus, accompanied by rectal pain and low-grade fever, rapid weight loss and generalized muscle aches, dehydration, rarely nausea and vomiting (extreme cases)
Risk Factors: Poor sanitation; contaminated food; contaminated water and other drinks; poor hand-washing by infected people; swimming in contaminated water, such as lakes or pools; physical contact through other people
Victim(s)/Infected: Unknown, but in some cases any number of your team of five party members can get infected from time to time; the only thing you need to do is to rest for a few days in order for the illness to go away.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Dysentery can be managed today just with rest and plenty of fluids (mild bacillary) and over-the-counter medication such as Pepto-Bismol. Severe bacillary dysentery can be treated with antibiotics, but the bacteria that causes it are often antibiotic-resistant. Amoebic dysentery can be treated with metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole (Tindamax) that kill the parasites, and can be accompanied by a follow-up drug to make sure the parasites are gone in some cases. In extreme cases, an intravenous (IV) drip can be recommended to replace fluids and prevent dehydration.
By the Way...: Although dysentery is a memetic mutation from The Oregon Trail through the years ("You have died of dysentery"), the most dangerous cause of death from disease (besides typhoid fever) is cholera, which is still considered a global pandemic. Wastewater treatment and proper sanitation have made these three diseases rare in this developed world but they have not been eradicated by any means.
Next, we come to a real-life illness in another 1980s video game, this time for the Famicom system, entitled Mother (which would later be known as EarthBound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console). And this illness is called... asthma.
What Is It?: A common long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and easily triggered bronchospasms; often beginning in childhood.
Signs and Symptoms: Wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing; usually worse at night or in the early morning or in response to exercise or cold air
Risk Factors: Air pollution, allergens, smoking during pregnancy and after delivery (via caesarean section), exposure to indoor volatile organic compounds, use of antibiotics in early life, family history and genetics, history of atopic disease, some medications such as beta blockers or aspirin, psychological stress
Victim(s)/Infected: Oh, boy, where to begin? It happens to Ninten, a 12-year-old protagonist who lives with a workaholic dad, a loving mom, twin kid sisters and a pet dog. When inanimate objects come to life and attack the family, Ninten discovers that psychic powers run in the family, and he has to know more about why inanimate objects and other alien beings and phenomena are attacking his town and home and the entire world. Along the way, he encounters vehicular enemies that cause him to get asthmatic attacks that prevent him from acting, and can only be alleviated with purchasable asthma sprays. Even asthma doesn't stop him and his friends from saving the world in very unusual ways.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Although there is no cure for asthma, symptoms can be improved by maintaining a specific, customized plan for proactively monitoring and managing symptoms that includes the reduction of exposure to allergens, testing to assess the severity of symptoms, and usage or medications. The most common treatment is identifying asthma triggers like smoking, pets, or aspirin and eliminating exposure to them; and using two main types of medication: long-term control medications, and quick-relief inhalers, as long as they're used in the proper order.
By the Way...: In 2015, 358 million people around the world had asthma, up from 183 million in 1990; and about 397,000 died from it as a result, most of which occurred in the developing world. Asthma was recognized as early as Ancient Egypt, and it comes from the Greek word which means "panting". Now that's something to think about.
Next, we come to another real-life illness in a video game, this time with Super Nintendo-like graphics and retro feel. Believe it or not, while it's a bit of a struggle between this and "panic attack", in the end, I've decided to settle on the illness that's more of a disorder, and that's... major depressive disorder (MDD).
What Is It?: A mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. Also known as depression. It can negatively affect a person's personal life, work life, or education, as well as sleeping, eating habits, and general health. The cause is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
Signs and Symptoms: Low mood, low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, pain without a clear cause; delusions or hallucinations; fatigue, headaches or digestive problems; poor concentration and memory, withdrawal from social situations or activities, reduced sex drive, irritability, insomnia, thoughts of death or suicide
Risk Factors: Family history, major life changes, certain medications, chronic health problems, substance abuse
Victim(s)/Infected: Where to begin? It starts when a young woman named Madeline attempts to climb Celeste Mountain in Canada, in spite of warnings from Granny, an old woman who lives there. On the way, Madeline runs into a memorial for those who perished on the climb and dreams that a dark reflection of herself, which she refers to as "Part of Me" (otherwise known as "Badeline", a personification of her inner demons and negativity), breaks out of a mirror and attempts to stop Madeline from climbing the mountain. Back in the real world, she continues on, at some times getting attacked by Badeline, who causes her to have a panic attack. Fortunately, with help from Theo, a fellow traveler she had encountered earlier, Madeline is able to calm down and continue on in spite of the obstacles that get in her way. She eventually discovers that Badeline might just be scared and that she has to talk with Badeline in order to get her to work together instead of pushing her away. It is then that the game has a moral: Your negative feelings and depression are a part of you, so don't let them control you, but also don't try to deny or banish them, because when you fully accept yourself, you can work wonders!
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Though there is no cure for MDD, you can, however, treat it with such things as counselling, anti-depressant medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and exercise.
By the Way...: There is another video game that deals with MDD, called Doki Doki Literature Club!, with one of the four girls (Sayori) as the victim of depression. And unlike Madeline of Celeste, Sayori is unable to get treatment or the help that she needs, leading to her suicide. Depressed individuals have a shorter life expectancy than those without depression, in part because depressed patients are at risk of dying of suicide, which is exactly what happens to Sayori. But that's another story to tell.
We're now getting to another mental illness or disorder in another indie game, this time called Night in the Woods. And believe it or not, it's a type of disorder that occurs in a video game that won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival Awards. It's one of the dissociative disorders that happens in that game, the most likely one known as... depersonalization disorder, or DPD.
What Is It?: A mental disorder in which the person has persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization or derealization. Often occurs in young adulthood.
Signs and Symptoms: The subjective experience of "unreality in one's self", or detachment from one's surroundings, feeling divorced from one's own personal physicality by sensing their body sensations, feelings, speeches, movements, emotions and behaviors as not belonging to themselves (depersonalization); feeling detached from one's surroundings, as if the world around them is foggy, dreamlike, or physically distorted; visual alterations such as rapid fluctuations in light (derealization)
Risk Factors: Certain personality traits, severe trauma, severe stress, depression or anxiety and panic, using recreational drugs, hallucinogen ingestion
Victim(s)/Infected: Oh boy, where to start? It happens to Margaret "Mae" Borowski, a pansexual cat and protagonist of the game. During her childhood, she started suffering from her mental breakdown of dissociation and started viewing everything around her as "just shapes", having lost all meaning of the world around her. Then, at a softball game on the following day, she suddenly went ballistic and bludgeoned a young student, Andy Cullen, to near-death in the head with a baseball bat because she viewed him as a bunch of shapes. As a result, many children were warned to stay away from her, referring to her as "Killer". The incident also put a strain on Mae's family, who went deeper into debt trying to treat her. She eventually got sent to Dr. Hank's office, where the doctor himself prescribed keeping a journal as a means of keeping her emotions in check, which she thought would help her feel grounded in reality. Everything seemed back to normal until she got sent to college, where her dissociative depersonalization effects began to intensify. She was terrified of leaving her room, downing pizzas in one go, drinking cough syrup to forget her nightmares; and worse, she was terrified of the rusty statue outside her window, which was supposed to be of the founder of Durkillesburg, but turned out to be a big mess of shapes watching and pointing down at her, making her feel terrified to call anyone for help. Finally, after three semesters, Mae mustered up the courage to drop out of college and head back to Possum Springs, where she thought there wouldn't be any dead shapes... or so it seemed. It later turns out that the Black Goat may be behind all these dissociative depersonalization disorders that bothered her, and now it's up to Mae and her friends to find out the truth behind these disorders.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: As with MDD, there is no cure for depersonalization disorder, but there are a bunch of treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and other psychotherapeutic techniques, and antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Zelexa, which can stabilize the mood and reduce the intrusive symptoms that trigger dissociative symptoms; and a combination of these SSRIs and a lamotrigene is effective treatment for dissociative disorders. It's also important for people to talk to a professional about these disorders so that they can begin treatment and feel like themselves again.
By the Way...: Besides mental illness and depression, Night in the Woods covers themes of politics, the Rust Belt, the stagnancy of the middle and lower classes, and the slow death of small town America.
We're now getting to another mental illness in still another indie game (this time called Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice), and believe it or not, this illness is another mental disorder called... psychosis.
What Is It?: An abnormal condition of the mind that results in difficulties determining what is real and what is not.
Signs and Symptoms: False beliefs (delusions), seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear (hallucinations), incoherent speech and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation
Risk Factors: Mental illness, sleep deprivation, some medical conditions, trauma, certain medications, drugs (including alcohol and cannabis), genetics
Victim(s)/Infected: It happens to Senua, the protagonist of the game, who believes that her psychosis is a curse, hears the Furies (who represent the auditory hallucinations), and is haunted by the Darkness (which represents hallucinations and delusional beliefs). She first developed the psychosis when she was five years old and became close to her mother Galena, who suffered the same psychosis curse but did not believe it to be dreadful; her father Zynbel did believe, however, and burned Galena alive, causing Senua's psychosis to worsen when she witnessed the event. Even worse, her father convinced her that her psychosis was a curse and abused her emotionally and cut her off from the rest of the world. One day, her lover Dillion met her and saw her as different and misunderstood. The two fell in love and left Zynbel to be close to each other. However, when a plague had struck Dillion's village, Senua believed it to be her fault and left in exile. When she had returned (while hoping she had left the Darkness behind), she found the entire village struck down dead by the Norsemen who sacrificed Dillion to their gods, whose leader was Hela. Senua now has to set out on her quest to save Dillion's soul from the gods of the Norsemen, in time learning to understand the acceptance of loss and moving on.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: As with depersonalization disorder, psychosis can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, rapid tranquilization, antipsychotic medication, acceptance and commitment therapy, and early intervention.
By the Way...: Ninja Theory, the development team behind Hellblade, worked closely with neuroscientists, mental health specialists, and people suffering from psychosis, which comes not from symptoms but "from the stigma, isolation, and mistreatment that comes about from the rest of society," according to the development team. This depiction of psychosis is done in a very real sense, combined with the voice acting and performance captures (which are done superbly by video editor Melina Juergens) and live action performances by other actors; which is what motivated the game to achieve commercial and critical success and a number of awards and nominations, including The Game Awards 2017, in which it won Best Audio Design, Best Performance for Juergens, and Games for Impact.
We're now getting to a real-life illness in another video game, this time an SNES game entitled Illusion of Gaia. Believe it or not, it's a very rare disease, and it's called... scurvy.
What Is It?: A disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which takes at least a month before symptoms can occur. It is often rare, occurring more often in the developing world in association with malnutrition.
Signs and Symptoms: Malaise, weakness, feeling tired, changes to hair, sore arms and legs, gum disease, easy bleeding, poor wound healing (early stages), emotional changes, dry mouth, dry eyes, jaundice, generalized edema, oliguria, neuropathy, fever, convulsions, eventual death (late stages)
Risk Factors: Mental disorders, unusual eating habits, alcoholism, old people who live alone, intestinal malabsorption, dialysis
Victim(s)/Infected: Although making a brief cameo, it happens to our young protagonist, Will, a bit early in the game. At one point when disaster has struck the Incan Gold Ship and separated Will and Princess Kara from their other friends, leaving the two of them stranded on a raft and starving, Will has to resort to eating a lot of fish he has caught and sharing them with Kara. After many days, the lack of vitamin C has weakened him, and he loses consciousness in front of her. Some time later, he regains consciousness in a house at Oakton, where he and Kara had earlier been informed by a young man that he had contracted scurvy, and that the man's dog, Turbo, discovered them on the raft while Will was unconscious the whole time; fortunately they had to give him some vitamin C and fruit juice and vegetables until he was on the road to recovery. Thanks to the young man's courage, Will and Kara are now ready to face the journey ahead, no matter what awaits them.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Thankfully, scurvy can be prevented and treated easily by adding a diet of vitamin C-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and also animal products such as liver, muktuk (whale skin), oysters, and meats from other animals that make their own vitamin C; and vitamin C supplements can also be recommended for those who are sick until they feel better.
By the Way...: Scurvy has been described as early as Ancient Egypt in 1550 BCE, and was a limiting factor in long distance sea travel from the time of the Crusaders in the 13th century. During the Age of Exploration (between 1500 and 1800), it has been estimated that at least two million sailors had died of scurvy, the most historical being 116 of Vasco de Gama's 170 crewmembers and 208 of Ferdinand Magellan's 230 crewmembers. During the 18th century, many British sailors died by the disease more than by enemy action, and the disease had carried on toward the late 20th century. That's a bit of a deadly disease that should not be taken for granted.
Speaking of an old illness, we're moving onto another illness, possibly the second-oldest disease in the world that has made it on to a most recent indie game entitled A Plague Tale: Innocence. This disease should be familiar to you, as it's called the bubonic plague, known in the Middle Ages as the Black Death.
What Is It?: Bubonic plague is one of the three types of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and the result of the route of infection (the other two being septicemic plague and pneumonic plague).
Signs and Symptoms: Fever, headaches, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, chills, malaise, muscle cramps, seizures, gangrene of the extremities such as toes, fingers, lips, and tip of the nose, coughing, delirium, coma
Risk Factors: Being bitten by fleas, exposure to rodents, scratches and/or bites from infected domestic cats, contact with individuals exposed to the plague
Victim(s)/Infected: Believe it or not, the victims of the plague in this game include Hugo, the brother of Amicia de Rune, whose family has been searching for a cure when the Inquisition, led by Lord Nicholas, raid the estate in search of Hugo, killing their father Robert and several servants. With help from their mother Beatrice, Amicia and Hugo flee through a nearby village, where they discover that hordes of ravenous rats have been spreading the plague and devouring anything they come across, driving many people to a witch hunt for Hugo. They eventually discover that Hugo's blood carries a supernatural evil called the Prima Macula, which has lain dormant within certain noble bloodlines since the Justinian Plague, and that the Grand Inquisitor Vitalis Benevent has been coveting its power. They now have to find a way to create an elixir that can help heal the Macula and the plague, while warding off the rats and the dangers that lie within.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Today, several classes of antibiotics are effective in treating the bubonic plague, including aminoglycosides such as streptomycin and gentamicin, tetracyclines such as doxycycline, and the fluoroquinolone ciprofloxacin; other treatments include oxygen, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prophylactic antibiotics for people who have come in contact with those infected by the plague. The mortality rate for treated bubonic plague is about 1-15%, compared to the rate of 30-90% for untreated plague.
By the Way...: Yersinia pestis was discovered in archaeological finds from the Late Bronze Age. Also, the plague is believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century and killed an estimated 50 million people, which is about 25-60% of the European population; and some historians believe that the plague was a turning point in the European economic development. Today, in the 21st century, this plague is most common in Africa. Oh, and the bubonic plague has been used in some works, most notably Albert Camus' The Plague and Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. This is definitely the disease that is a force to be reckoned with.
We've got the illnesses narrowed down to three now. And believe it or not, this third illness is one more mental disorder that is not very common in video games so much as it is discovered in Overwatch, a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter game. And I am talking, of course, about autism.
What Is It?: A developmental disorder that is included in the autism spectrum, a range of mental disorders of the neurodevelopmental type (the other illness included is Asperger syndrome). Often occurring at the age of six months, being established at the age of two or three years, and tending to continue through adulthood, although often in more muted form.
Signs and Symptoms: Trouble with social interaction, impaired communication, restrictive interests, repetitive behavior
Risk Factors: Genetic and environmental factors, such as a sibling with autism; older parents; certain genetic conditions, such as Down, fragile X, and Rett syndromes; very low birth weight; maternal nutrition and inflammation during preconception and pregnancy; inauterine growth restriction; exposure to air pollution during pregnancy
Victim(s)/Infected: Believe it or not, the first Overwatch character known to have autism is Satya Vaswani, a.k.a. Symmetra, an Indian architect of the Vishkar Corporation, based in southern India. Vishkar created hard light technology that allowed it to build cities, and trained its elite architects to bend the hard light into any shape needed for that purpose; and with this technology, they built the city of Utopaea to serve as their base. Satya's potential was discovered at a young age, and she was taken from a life of poverty to train at Vishkar's architect academy Utopaea. It was there that she became one of the top students in her class and combined the light-bending technology with the traditional dances of her homeland. Vishkar gave her the name "Symmetra" and dispatched her on clandestine missions around the world to oversee her corporate interests. To quote game director Jeffrey Kaplan on Symmetra, "She is one of our most beloved heroes and we think she does a great job of representing just how awesome someone with autism can be."
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Although there is no cure for autism, it is estimated that treatments for the disorder are educational behavioral therapy and speech therapy, and psychotropic medication such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and stimulants with associated symptoms. There are also other therapies such as diets and dietary supplements.
By the Way...: Autism also has a culture that has emerged, accompanied by the autistic rights and neurodiversity movements. Events include World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Sunday, Autistic Pride Day, and Autreat, among others. Organizations dedicated to promoting awareness of autism include Autism Speaks, Autism National Committee, and Autism Society of America. Some autism rights advocates view autism as a way of life rather than a medical disorder and thus advocate acceptance rather than a search for a cure. That may be the case, which is why I may be one of them and I'm a little smarter than the average person.
We're getting down to the final two illnesses in this list, and with the last two video games that have introduced them. But be warned that both of these are terminal illnesses, which are proof that sometimes even video games can't all have happy endings regardless of illness or tumor. That Dragon, Cancer is one of them, and it deals with a fatal illness, one that's simply known as... atypical teratoid rhadboid tumor, or AT/RT for short.
What Is It?: AT/RT is a rare tumor, or a type of abnormal and excessive growth of tissue, usually diagnosed in childhood; although usually a brain tumor, it can occur anywhere in the central nervous system (or CNS), including the spinal cord. AT/RT represents around 3% or pediatric cancers of the CNS. Around 17% of all pediatric cancers involve the CNS, making these cancers the most common childhood solid tumor; the survival rate for CNS tumors is around 60%. Pediatric brain cancer is second-leading cause of childhood cancer death, just after leukemia; and recent trends suggest that the rate of overall CNS tumor diagnosis is increasing by about 2.7% per year.
Signs and Symptoms: Since many of the tumors occur in the posterior cranial fossa and depend on the child's age, symptoms include headaches, vomiting, lethargy, ataxia (unsteady gait), paraplegia, and abnormal feeling in the legs.
Risk Factors: Certain genetic changes in the tumor suppressor genes SMARCB1 or SMARCB4 (which make a protein that helps control cell growth), which may be passed on from parents to offspring
Victim(s)/Infected: Believe it or not, this happened in real life to Joel Green, the son of video game developers Ryan and Amy Green, whose personal experience with AT/RT became the basis of this game (also described in a documentary film called Thank You for Playing). Born on January 12, 2009, Joel was diagnosed with AT/RT at about a year old, and was thought to have only four months to live; and yet he went on to survive for four years before finally succumbing to the cancer at the age of five on March 13, 2014. Following Joel's death, his parents reworked their experience with Joel to memorialize and personalize their time and interactions with him for the player, almost like an interactive point-and-click adventure game.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Though there is no cure for AT/RT or proven therapy to deliver long-term survival, many children with AT/RT are enrolled in clinical trials in an attempt to find an effective cure. Currently four types of treatment are used: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Of course, some cancer treatments can cause side-effects months or years after a treatment has ended, including physical problems; changes in mood, feelings, thinking, learning, or memory; and second cancers. Some side-effects may be treated or controlled. As of now, it's important to talk to your child's doctors about the signs and symptoms caused by the tumor that may continue after treatment, and about the effects cancer treatment can have on your child.
By the Way...: That Dragon, Cancer received "generally favorable reviews" according to Metacritic and GameRankings; and it even won most awards, including the Best Gameplay and Most Innovative awards at the Games for Change Awards, the Games for Impact award at The Game Awards 2016, and the Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award at the SXSW Gaming Awards.
Finally, we're getting down to the #1 real-life illness on the list. Not only that, but it's currently the most deadly disease on Planet Earth, one of the #1 causes of human death, the oldest #1 cause in our entire human history, and the #1 deadliest disease known to mankind. Fewer video games have introduced the disease such as Samurai Shodown and Sengoku Basara, but none so far have captured or embodied it as perfectly as Red Dead Redemption 2. And this most powerful, deadliest disease I'm talking about is none other than... tuberculosis, or TB for short.
What Is It?: An infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria, which generally infects the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis), but can also infect other parts of the body (expulmonary tuberculosis). TB is spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs cough, spit, speak, sing, or sneeze. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it's known as latent tuberculosis, and people with latent TB do not spread the disease; up to 90% of those infected never progress through active state. It comes from the Genus mycobacterium, which is estimated to have originated more than 150 million years ago, while tuberculosis itself is estimated to have evolved sometime between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. It was also ironically called "the romantic disease", since it was associated with poetic and artistic qualities for centuries among those infected.
Signs and Symptoms: Fever, chills, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss (which is why the disease was called "consumption" in the old days), and fatigue; chest pain and a prolonged cough producing sputum (pulmonary)
Risk Factors: The most important risk factor globally is HIV, which didn't exist at the time of RDR2 until the early 20th century. Other risk factors include overcrowding, silicosis, diabetes mellitus, smoking, alcoholism, trauma (physical and medical), malnutrition, etc.
Victim(s)/Infected: Believe it or not, tuberculosis has claimed the life of not one, but two (!) of the game's characters. And it all started with Thomas Downes. Thomas has a wife named Edith and a son named Archie, and works for the family farm and a fundraiser for The Charitable Organisation of New Hanover. But as charitable as he is, Mr. Downes is very sick, in his final stages of TB, no less. One day, he becomes financially unstable and receives a loan from Leopold Strauss, one of the Van der Linde gang members, which he is unable to pay. So when Arthur Morgan, another Van der Linde gang member and the game's protagonist, is sent by Strauss to collect the loan from Mr. Downes, he makes a threat to hand over the money before beating him to the point of death, but not before he gets coughed on by Mr. Downes. As a result, Arthur contracts tuberculosis, which has a latency period that could have stayed for years if allowed. However, Arthur unwittingly chooses to hasten the TB progression into active infection with his smoking cigarettes, alcoholism from drinking beer, and with physical trauma and malnutrition due to his eventually getting shot, kidnapped, tortured, and denied food by Colm O'Driscoll and his gang (four of the risk factors of TB mentioned above); eventually Arthur later gets very sick and is diagnosed with TB, and told by Dr. Joseph Barnes that he only has a short time to live. Faced with his own mortality, Arthur reflects on his actions and how to protect the gang following his death, atoning for his crimes by doing good deeds and helping those less fortunate. When he later discovers that another member, Micah Bell, has sold the Van der Linde gang out to the Pinkertons who are out to kill them, Arthur uses what little time he has left to get them out of the outlaw business while getting his best friend, John Marston (of RDR1), and his family to safety. There are different endings depending on your honor and what path you take, but if you have High Honor and decide to help John, then Arthur holds off Micah and the Pinkertons while the Marston family gets away. In the end, although critically wounded by Micah and left to die, Arthur feels content that he has helped John secure a better future for his family, and gets a final glimpse of the sunrise shortly before passing from this life into a better place, thus achieving his redemption.
Is There a Cure or Treatment?: Not in 1899, there wasn't, as TB was considered as a death sentence and the only treatment back then was to rest someplace warm and dry in an attempt to slow down the infection, which is not on the cards in the game. Nowadays, TB prevention and control efforts rely primarily on the vaccination of infants and the detection and appropriate treatment of active cases. The only available vaccine is Baccillus Calmette-Guerin (created and used in 1921), which decreases the risk of getting the infection in children by 20% and the risk of infection turning into active disease by nearly 60%; and is the most widely used vaccine worldwide, with more than 90% of all children being vaccinated (the immunity decreases after 10 years), and only administered to those at high risk. A number of new vaccines are currently in development. As for treatment, it uses antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Latent TB is treated with either isoniazid alone or with a combination of isoniazid with either rifampicin or rifapentine; while active TB is best treated with combinations of several antibiotics to reduce the risk of the bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. Most recently, in 2016, child-friendly treatments were introduced to reduce the risk of TB infection in children and are still in use today. However, in the 21st century, tuberculosis has since gained many antibiotic-resistant strains and is becoming recurrent; if that is detected, then treatment with at least four antibiotics for 18 to 24 months is recommended. Bedaquiline is tentatively supported foruse in multiple drug-resistant TB.
By the Way...: Arthur Morgan isn't the first playable video game character to have suffered tuberculosis; that honor goes Ukyo Tachibana from Samurai Shodown. As for tuberculosis, although it has since been eradicated in the U.S.A., Canada, and the UK, about 80% of people in many African and Asian test positive, while 5-10% of people in the U.S. test positive by the tuberculin test. Right now 25% of the world's population are infected by latent TB, and it has killed more people than HIV every single year; throughout history it has killed an estimated 10.7 billion people total. In 2017, 1.6 million people succumbed to TB; and by the end of the current year 2019, over 1.3 million of them will perish. But there actually is hope, because every year, charities like TB Alliance are fighting to find more effective treatments to hopefully undo the damage drug-resistant TB is causing, while those like TB Alert and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are attempting to bring existing treatments to people in need on the ground. If you can give money to these charities, it is recommended, as even as little as a dollar can help save a life, because we're millions and millions strong on this planet together, doing what we can to help those in need to make this world a better place.
Before I finish, I would like to point out a few honorable mentions, if there are any. Here they are:
Dementia - Sea Hero Quest (a mobile game which contributes to research on dementia)
Catatonia - American McGee's Alice
HIV/AIDS - I'm Positive (a text adventure game that was a top five winner of the CDC- and HHS-sponsored 2014 Games for Health Game Jam)
And there you have it. The Top Ten Real-Life Illnesses in Video Games. These illnesses (and many others) may be dangerous and/or life threatening, but they are still a part of us, not the other way around. So, no matter what happens to us, these video games are all reminders that we are more than our disease; that there are still things left to do; that our lives continue; and that, while we may not all be here, we are for now, and there's still time for work. To quote the words of one song from RDR2, we will rise to the top, and we will not be stopped, for we stand... unshaken.
List by angeldeb82 (07/17/2019)
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