Also known as Tube-neck or the superflu, the viral disease most popularly referred to as Captain Trips killed off about 99.99% of the world's population during the mid-1980s. Captain Trips is a retrovirus much like HIV, but instead of bringing a slow, lingering death like AIDS, Trips works at the speed of influenza, killing its victims over a period of a few weeks.

Symptoms of Trips at its early stages include nausea, loss of appitite, dizziness, runny nose, and a hacking cough. As the disease progresses, the virus attacks the thyroid, and the victim's neck begins to swell. Sometimes the swelling of the neck is pronounced enough to block off the air passage, causing suffocation and death. In its advanced stages, victims will experience hallucinations and breakdown of muscle tissue. Death is almost inevitable.

There is no known cure for Captain Trips, and with our country the current post-Apocalyptic wasteland that it is, we probably will not find one in the near future. It appears that resistance to the bug is genetic, although not always so.

Some historians speculate that Trips was a Biological Weapon developed in secret by the old United States Government. This idea is supported by the fact that while the goverment existed, the Army disseminated misleading information on the virulent and widespread nature of the epidemic. Stuart Redman claims that he spent months under study at a secret goverment laboratory because of his resistance to the disease. Critics point out that the Army may have just been trying to prevent general panic, and that Mr. Redman was probably under study in order to determine how he fought the disease so that a cure could be found, rather than a more dangerous disease be bred.

Resource: The Stand, by Stephen King

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