SYNOPSIS
( Disease Defenders | Animal Alert! )


NOTE: This synopsis is provided as an overview for TEACHERS. We advise teachers NOT to hand this out to the students prior to playing the adventure since much of the suspense will be eliminated.

All synopses provided below are in Adobe Acrobat format:

SYNOPSES (By Expert Path)
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The web adventure begins with the player choosing one of three expert paths to play. Once the player chooses an expert path, they will begin role-playing as that expert in an infectious disease outbreak investigation.


Microbiology Path
Enter Headquarters:

When the player chooses the microbiology expert path, they will arrive at headquarters in Neuropolis to get orders from Alpha, leader of the Reconstructors. Alpha informs the player that there is a mysterious disease outbreak in the distant region of Yara. The local microbiologist needs your help discovering what pathogen is causing the outbreak.

Yara Regional Lab:

At the regional lab in Yara the player meets the local microbiologist, Dr. Adel Ratu. Dr. Ratu had already analyzed patient samples to determine what pathogen is causing the encephalitis outbreak, but needs the players help interpreting the results. The player will learn about the techniques used to analyze the patient samples for different pathogens and then determine from the results what type of pathogen is causing the encephalitis.

After concluding that a virus is the cause, the player must now go to the more specialized lab in Neuropolis to determine the exact identity of the virus. The player also has contact with the local veterinarian, Dr. Peter Ting, and learns that pigs are also suffering from encephalitis. This brings into question whether the outbreak is the result of a zoonosis.

Neuropolis National Lab:

The head microbiologist, Dr. Jesse Abat, greets the player at the National Lab in Neuropolis. Dr. Abat informs the player that there are many different scientists at the National lab that specialize in different techniques. His specialty is microarray and sequencing and he needs the players help using these techniques to discover the identity of the virus. The player also has contact with the local epidemiologist, Maya Jones, who informs the player that all people sick with encephalitis were found to have had contact with pigs.

Microarray Lab:

In the microarray lab the player uses a viral microarray to compare the unknown virus' nucleic acids with the nucleic acids from known viruses. By doing this, the player learns that the unknown virus is similar to Nipah virus. To confirm the virus as Nipah virus, the player must sequence the unknown virus' nucleic acid and compare it to the Nipah virus nucleic acid. This confirms that the unknown virus is not Nipah virus, but this needs additional confirmation.

Serology Lab:

The serology lab results posted on the serology lab door indicate that there are no antibodies to Nipah virus in the patient samples. This confirms that the identity of the unknown virus cannot be Nipah virus.

The player concludes with Dr. Abat that the identity of the unknown virus is a previously unidentified virus that will now be called Yara virus, after the location that the virus was isolated. At this point, Alpha messages the player and requests for the player to report their findings. After submitting their findings to Alpha, the player is ordered to return to headquarters to wrap up the investigation with the epidemiologist and veterinarian.

Exit Headquarters:

At headquarters, the player reviews the investigation with the other two experts and recaps their findings. The player then learns how all the factors in the story came together to result in the emergence of a new virus that lead to the outbreak in pigs and people.

Veterinary Medicine Path
Enter Headquarters:

When the player chooses the veterinarian expert path, they will arrive at headquarters in Neuropolis to get orders from Alpha, leader of the Reconstructors. Alpha informs the player that there is a mysterious disease outbreak in pigs in the distant region of Yara. The veterinarian needs help discovering what is wrong with the pigs in Yara's North Village.

North Village:

In the North Village, access to the pig pens are restricted unless wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). The vet has a temporary office located in the unrestricted area of the village where the PPE can be collected.

Vet Office:

Inside the vet office the player can collect their PPE among other tools that are needed to examine pigs. The local epidemiologist, Maya Jones, who is investigating the encephalitis outbreak in humans, also contacts the player. She has learned from her investigation that the people in Yara suffering from encephalitis all had contact with pigs. To determine if the encephalitis outbreak is the result of a zoonotic pathogen, she needs to know what is affecting the sick pigs.

Pig Pens:

Once the player puts on their PPE they can cross into the restricted area where the pigs pens are located. Here, the player will find the vet, Dr. Peter Ting, and receive further direction to examine the pigs. Inside the pig pens the player will observe the pigs for clinical signs, separate the healthy pigs from the sick, take blood samples from the sick pigs for microbiology lab analysis, and take the sick pigs' temperatures. Next, a quarantine of pigs must be initiated to prevent the disease from spreading to other villages.

Helicopter:

The vet needs assistance initiating the quarantine of pigs. The player will use the helicopter to fly over the villages and stop trucks from transporting pigs outside of the village. The player will learn what a quarantine is, why it is necessary, and hypothesize about what they think will happen if pigs are quarantined in the North Village.

After 2 weeks, the player discovers that the quarantine was ineffective and the disease has now spread to pigs in two other villages. The microbiologist, Dr. Jesse Abat, also contacts the player with the results of the microbiology analysis on the pigs' blood samples. Dr. Abat determined that the pigs are infected with a new pathogen that has never been seen before, now named Yara virus. The virus has now spread to people in the South Village, where there are no pigs. The player must now go to the South Village to try and determine the source of the new virus.

South Village:

At the South Village the player collects and sends animals that could be sources of the new virus to the microbiology lab for analysis. The player also learns about the role that reservoirs, vectors, and hosts play in zoonotic disease transmission cycles. At this point, Alpha messages the player and requests for the player to report their findings. After submitting their findings to Alpha, the player is ordered to return to headquarters to wrap up the investigation with the microbiologist and the epidemiologist.

Exit Headquarters:

At headquarters, the player reviews the investigation with the other two experts before determining what reservoir, vector, vehicle, and host are involved in the Yara virus transmission cycle. The player then learns how all the factors in the story came together to result in the emergence of a new virus that lead to the outbreak in pigs and people.

Epidemiology Path
Enter Headquarters:

When the player chooses the epidemiology expert path, they will arrive at headquarters in Neuropolis to get orders from Alpha, leader of the Reconstructors. Alpha informs the player that there are many people sick in the distant region of Yara. The local epidemiologist needs your help discovering if there is an outbreak occurring.

North Village:

In the North Village, the player must meet the epidemiologist in the temporary office to determine if the number of people sick constitutes and outbreak.

Epidemiology Office Visit 1:

Inside the office the player learns that Maya Jones, the local epidemiologist, suspects an encephalitis outbreak. To determine if there is an outbreak, the player will first apply a case-definition to patient data from the North, West, and East Villages to establish the number of people in Yara that are suffering from encephalitis. After establishing the total number of encephalitis cases in Yara, the player will then determine if there is an increased number of cases this year compared to last year by analyzing the data in a graph.

Once the player determines that there is in fact an outbreak occurring, they will need to conduct a case-control study to determine the source of the outbreak. The player also has contact with the microbiologist, Dr. Jesse Abat, and learns that the pathogen that is causing the encephalitis is a never before seen virus, now named Yara virus. The player must hurry and find the source of the new virus so that the spread of the disease can be stopped.

Clinic:

Inside the clinic the player continues the case-control study by having encephalitis cases fill out a questionnaire that asks them if they have recently travelled and asks them about their exposure to chickens, pigs, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Restricted Area:

To complete the case-control study, the player must have controls, or villagers who are not sick with encephalitis, fill out the same questionnaire as the encephalitis cases. All the villagers are cutting down the surrounding jungles to expand their pig farming and the player must navigate their way through a maze to get the questionnaires filled out.

Epidemiology Office Visit 2:

To conclude the case-control study, the player must analyze the questionnaire data from cases and controls to determine the source of Yara virus. To establish the source of the virus, the player calculates and compares the exposure odds ratios of the potential sources asked about in the questionnaire.

The player determines that all the people in Yara sick with encephalitis had contact with pigs. The player also has contact with the local veterinarian, Dr. Peter Ting, and learns that pigs are also suffering from encephalitis. This brings into question whether the outbreak is the result of a zoonosis. Unfortunately, the player learns from Maya Jones that there are now encephalitis cases in the South Village, where there were previously no cases. In addition, another casecontrol study must be conducted to determine the source of the virus there because there are no pigs in this village.

South Village:

The player meets Maya Jones to analyze the results from the case-control study for the South Village. Since most of the encephalitis cases from the South Village are young male fruit pickers, Maya added a question about exposure to mangoes in the questionnaire. Comparing exposure odds ratios for the potential exposures reveals that all people sick with encephalitis in the South Village had contact with contaminated mangoes.

So there seems to be two different sources of Yara virus: pigs and mangoes. What do these things have in common? At this point, Alpha messages the player and requests for the player to report their findings. After submitting their findings to Alpha, the player is ordered to return to headquarters to wrap up the investigation with the microbiologist and veterinarian.

Exit Headquarters:

At headquarters, the player reviews the investigation with the other two experts and recaps their findings. The player then learns how all the factors in the story came together to result in the emergence of a new virus that lead to the outbreak in pigs and people.