SCP-XXXX

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Live samples of SCP-XXXX are in cryogenic storage at Site ██ in Reston, Virginia. All research on SCP-XXXX must be conducted under biosafety level 4 protocols. Research on SCP-XXXX using animal subjects is authorized. Research on SCP-XXXX using human subject requires Level 4 authorization.

Patient XXXX-0 is housed in a positive-pressure sterile containment unit on level five of the WILDFIRE containment facility 90 miles outside Piedmont, Arizona. Access to Patient XXXX-0 is restricted to personnel with WILDFIRE RAPID DUSTER clearance. Patient XXXX-0 is currently in soft restraints and on total parenteral nutrition. These therapies are to be continued indefinitely.

Blood samples from Patient XXXX-0 are available for study with Level 3 approval or above. Due to the current condition of Patient XXXX-0, only a limited number of samples are available per week. Finding a way to grow SCP-XXXX in culture is considered to be the top research priority at this time.

Description: SCP-XXXX is an obligate intracellular parasitic protist that is known to be capable of infecting canids and primates, including humans. The life cycle of SCP-XXXX is not yet fully understood, but it appears to include at least tachyzoic (motile) and sporozoic (encysted) stages. When SCP-XXXX sporozoites are introduced to a canid or primate subject, they stage-convert into rapidly proliferating tachyzoites which reproduce asexually. Daughter organisms of the tachyzoites develop back into sporozoites which form cysts in the host organism’s tissues. How sporozoites are transmitted from host to host is not yet known.

Infection by SCP-XXXX follows three stages of progression in both canids and humans. In canids, infection begins in the latent stage, progresses to the proliferative stage, then reaches the chronic stage. In humans, the latent and proliferative stages progress toward a terminal stage with an apparent mortality rate of 100%.

During the latent stage in both canids and humans infection is asymptomatic as SCP-XXXX reproduces slowly and migrates to the host’s limbic and endocrine tissues. The latent stage is known to last between two weeks and four months in canids, and is suspected to last at least three months in humans. During this stage a serological test can confirm the presence of SCP-XXXX, but only with a 72% success rate. A more discriminating test is under development.

During the proliferative stage, SCP-XXXX reproduces rapidly and begins to form cysts in the host organism’s limbic and endocrine tissues, particularly in the amygdalae and adrenal glands. These cysts disrupt the host’s hormone and neurotransmitter levels, resulting in neurological, psychological and behavioral changes which differ in canids and humans.

In canids, the proliferative stage is marked by a determined seeking out of human contact, even among undomesticated individuals. In domesticated individuals, this behavioral change is subtle and may be mistaken for normal affectionate behavior.

In humans, the proliferative stage causes a variety of neurological, psychological and behavioral symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Diminished affect
  • A tendency toward anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure)
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Akathisia (a feeling of inner restlessness or inability to remain still)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive drowsiness or sleeping
  • Disinclination toward personal hygiene
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

Among infectees who are dog owners, the proliferative stage is also accompanied by a strong inclination toward the company of their pets.

In canids, the final stage of infection is the chronic stage, which appears to last indefinitely. The chronic stage is marked by increasingly severe non-localized pain and some of the typical canine responses to pain: panting, whining, growling, threatening to bite. The withdrawal response is absent, as the attention-seeking behavior from the proliferative stage carries over into the chronic stage.

In humans, the final stage of infection is the terminal stage, which appears to have a mortality rate approaching or equal to 100%. During the terminal stage symptoms from the proliferative stage increase in severity, particularly as pertains to the tendency to withdraw from social contact with other humans. Patients in the terminal stage are highly averse to leaving their homes (and the company of their dogs, if they are pet owners), and eventually begin to suffer from an increasingly severe tendency toward suicidal ideation. Eventually—two to twelve weeks after initial onset of symptoms—patients will take their own lives in their own homes. To date, no patients who have entered the terminal stage of infection have experienced a different outcome.

Given the paucity of available data on human infections, it is difficult to compute an R0 for SCP-XXXX.1 The canine component in the (conjectural) life cycle of SCP-XXXX further complicates epidemiological study. When canine and human populations are combined into one cohort, R0 for SCP-XXXX appears to be somewhere between 2 and 10. More data is necessary to estimate R0 more precisely.

At this time, based on the limited data available, we must consider SCP-XXXX a very dangerous organism with the potential for a pandemic-scale outbreak.

Research into the epidemiology of and potential treatments for SCP-XXXX is ongoing.

Memorandum 3/26/2018:

From: Dr. ██████, Team Lead, SCP-XXXX

To: All Personnel, SCP-XXXX

Clearance: WILDFIRE RAPID DUSTER

I know the Patient XXXX-0 situation has been especially hard on morale. I understand that it seems inhumane to keep a patient on life support indefinitely when that patient has no hope of a meaningful recovery. But please remember that we are all professionals. We have protocols for a reason. Strict adherence to those protocols may end up being the only thing that prevents a death toll in the tens of millions. Yes, that includes those aspects of the protocol that you might think aren’t that important.

So from now on, I don’t want to hear—or especially see written in reports—any reference to Patient XXXX-0 other than as “Patient XXXX-0.” He is not your friend, and he is not a “good boy.” He is your patient. You’re doctors. Act like it.

— █.