Spoiler alert! Mild spoilers for 2000AD prog 1787 follow. You have been warned.
There are some more medical details about the chaos bug in the latest 2000AD. Chaos Day has arrived and the deadly micro-organism is sweeping through Mega-City one. According to the caption in the second panel there are now millions of victims which suggests we are on the third day of Professor Wyant's projections.
Dredd is working with a small team of Judges and members of the Citi-Def citizens' militia as they try to regain control of a single city block. After Dredd deals with an infected victim in characteristic, uncompromising fashion we get another snippet of information about the infectious nature of the Chaos organism. Respirators are apparently essential to prevent airborne transmission, but the Judges have also covered their exposed skin with a barrier gel. This suggests that either the organism can penetrate human skin, or more likely the airborne organism can settle on human skin and then be transferred internally later by the usual hand to mouth touching that we all do throughout the day. This is how we normally pick up the common cold virus and manage to infect ourselves. It would be nice if we had a barrier gel that we could wear during flu and cold season.
Having established that the chaos illness can be caught through breathing or skin contact we then get a standard scene for any Zombie type infection story - a human bite. Clearly the bite of a Chaos victim will transmit the bug to the unfortunate Citi-Def member and Dredd prepares to take drastic action with a laser. But this is a bit strange because it seems fairly clear that the Citi-Def are not wearing any form of masks. Having established that respirators are mandatory it would appear that the militia members are already at risk of airborne infection. Could the Judges have made a deliberate decision to sacrifice the Citi-Def members? And if so why does Dredd bother with the laser surgery he is planning at the end of this page. It does seem like a strange omission, unless their lack of respirators has been explained somewhere else? Please email me if I have missed this.
Having said all that the story of Chaos Day is completely engrossing and this minor detail does not detract from John Wagner's masterpiece. The full scale of the disaster is becoming clear and strangely Dredd seems to be on the periphery of the action as the Mega-City falls. Presumably his moment is coming but it is difficult to see how the Judges are going to save the day.
My nit-picking point about the respirators means this issue only gets 3 out of 5 medic-droids for medical accuracy, but it gets a full 10 points on the Zarjaz scale. Watch this space for more soon.