Infection

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Infection is a very quick disease that can be contracted from open wounds.

Overview

Infections can occur on most wounds. It is the fastest working illness in RimWorld, taking little more than a day to kill the victim if left untended. Animals can also contract infections, though at a reduced chance, which move just as fast.

It is possible to have multiple infections simultaneously across different body parts. Each infection progresses at its own rate, while immunity against infections progresses at the same rate across the whole body. If the patient can become immune before the worst infection reaches 100%, that now-immune patient has beaten all their infections.

If untreated, the patient loses this race in less than a day and a half, so any infection needs to be treated immediately and constantly. A pawn with 100% Immunity Gain Speed will become immune in around 1.5 days.

Mechanics

Any cut, bite, burn or frostbite has a chance to become infected; blunt traumas (aka bruises) do not, nor can a pawn get an infection from losing a body part (i.e. a hand cannot become infected because of a lost finger). The chance of a pawn getting an infection depends on the wound type and various other factors:

  • Bite, burn or frostbite wounds have a 25% chance.
  • Most other bleeding wounds have a 10% chance.
  • Bruises, cracks or missing parts cannot be infected.
  • Colonists are more likely to get wound infections at higher difficulties.

Treated wounds can still get infected, at a reduced chance. The multipler is 85% at 0% tend quality, and linearly decreases to 5% at 100% tend quality. Animals have 20% of a colonist's chance to get an infection. Cleaner rooms further reduce the chance of infection. A regular room without any dirt has a 50% multiplier, a clean room with sterile tiles has a 32% multipler, while caravans and outdoor spaces have are 100%.

When a colonist has an infectable wound, the game will count down randomly from 15,000 ticks (4.17 mins) to 45,000 ticks (12.5 mins). Once it reaches this timer, it will decide if the wound will be infected. Once an infection sets in, it immediately becomes a life-or-death race between the infection rates vs. the patient's immunity progression; the first to a value of 1.00 (100%) "wins".

Prevention

Other than simply never sending a pawn into combat, infections can not be completely prevented. However, the chances of infection can be severely reduced. Make sure to tend to people/animals quickly, in a clean/sterile environment. Any constructed floor is better than dirt, and sterile tiles are better than generic floors. You should also have pawns clean the room in question. See cleanliness for more details.

A triage area can be established near a killbox to tend to pawns quickly without having to trudge halfway across the map carrying the pawn to tend - the utility of this depends on the distance to a hospital and the number of pawns needing treatment. More pawns and larger distance make it more relevant, while a single pawn getting downed in the room next to the hospital would be better off taken to the clean room.

Stages

Minor

  • +5% Pain

Major

  • +8% Pain

Extreme (Initial)

  • +12% Pain
  • -5% Consciousness

Extreme (Advanced)

  • Loss of Consciousness (max 10%)
  • +85% Pain
  • -5% Breathing
  • Death at 1 severity

Progression

Infection and immunity progression begin as soon as the disease is detected; the first to 100% (1.0 severity) "wins", either saving or killing the pawn. The current status of both progressions can be viewed in the sick colonist's Health tab by mouse-hovering over the word "Infection". Unfortunately, the disease progresses faster without good treatment and rest.

Stages

  • Minor - Severity: 0 - 0.32
  • Major - Severity: 0.33 - 0.77
  • Extreme (Initial) - Severity: 0.78 - 0.86
  • Extreme (Advanced) - Severity: 0.87 - 0.99
  • Death - Severity: 1

Humans & Animals

  • When not immune or treated, severity increases by 0.84 per day (.035 per hr.).
  • When immune, severity decreases by 0.7 per day.
  • Immunity increases by 0.6441 per day when sick.
  • Treatment slows progression by a maximum of -0.53 per day (less with poor treatment).
    • At 100% treatment, the disease will progress by 0.31 per day.

This meas that an infection can kill less than 29 hours (1.19 days) from first symptoms. Pawns with 100% Immunity Gain Speed* constantly resting in a bed will become immune in just over 1 1/2 days.

(* A patient gains immunity more slowly with poor blood filtration (e.g. from a missing/damaged kidney), malnutrition (i.e. long-term hunger), or over the age of 50, so their time to reach immunity will be greater. Extremely vulnerable patients have only extreme options.)

Case studies

  • It has been observed in patients with normal beds, a room with "slightly dirty" to "dirty" cleanliness, well nourished, Medical care with skill ~6-10 and only herbal medicine (Tend quality ~40-50), will recover from their infections, even despite some few hours delay in starting treatment. It sometimes is a near thing, and may result in a longer recovery time from an end infection near/over 90% when they reach immunity, depending on the delay, their feeding schedule and the "luck" of the attending doctor. Malnutrition (from hunger) definitely slows the immunity process, as listed under Immunity Gain Speed.
  • It has also been observed that a prisoner in good health (age < 50, no health issues), well fed, in an excellent-quality hospital bed with a vitals monitor, and a Tend quality of 99% (high Medical skill using glitterworld medicine), gained Immunity more than 2:1 over Infection gain (from a 68 Immunity and 83 Infection, +32 v. +15). That's not a "maximum", but it may be close to a reasonably practical one, just as a benchmark.

All this math also means that it will take a patient almost 3 days, or more, to go through the process of first fighting and then recovering from an infection, besides recovering from whatever wound or ailment caused the infection in the first place. Yet another reason to provide prompt, sterile treatment for all colonists' wounds to avoid this in the first place.

Once an infection is gone from the system, so is any immunity to future infections, and a new infection will cause the process to begin again from scratch.

Default warning

Toward the end of a bad infection, once the infection becomes "extreme" (80% or more), you will get a bright red warning among the other notices on the right side of the screen saying:

"Medical emergency People are at risk for death because of severe illness..."

This alert appears regardless of whether that colonist is currently beating the infection or not, or will do so - the game doesn't do the math to predict whether the infection or the immunity will reach 100% first, but you should be able to. The warning is simply there to remind you that now may be the time to take drastic action, just in case you are losing the race. The notice will disappear when immunity reaches 100% (regardless of the current level of infection), or when the victim dies.

Treatment

Prevention is the best treatment - a capable doctor and clean environment for treatment are critical to avoiding this deadly ailment before it happens.

As with any other disease: Make sure that the patient is rested, well-fed, and treated whenever possible. Treatment is administered once every 12 hours, per infection. Infections progress very quickly, and missing a treatment can be a very costly mistake. Due to the rate at which they progress, you'll need at least a competent doctor and medicine in order to ensure that the affected person survives their infections.

If left untreated, infections kill (or destroy the limb) in a little over a day - untreated infections move fast! For resting colonists with 100% immunity gain speed, you will need at least 15% average treatment quality to ensure that one doesn't succumb to their infected wound(s).

This disease is unique in that it only affects a specific body part, making infections curable by amputating the affected body part. It is not possible to amputate vital body parts. It's better to have a colonist missing a part or two than a dead one, and they won't mind if you remove their infected parts, either. If the infection has progressed to over 97%, there is little to no chance your surgeons can successfully pull off an amputation in time. Amputations can fail, so try to amputate well at 80% - 90% if you have no other optoin.

* To amputate: Under the patient's Health tab is the Operations tab; "add a bill" to amputate the infected body part. You may have to/want to upgrade the patient's default "medicine" used for procedures - that's under Health/Overview. If an arm/leg is the target, sure to amputate the correct (left/right) limb - surgeons just do what they're told.)

Vulnerable

For those with a base immunity gain rate of 39% or less, there is no chance that they will be able to survive a wound infection normally, even with 100% treatment quality for all treatments and rest in a hospital bed with vitals monitor connected. This includes some people with kidney and liver damage (physical or chemical). A pawn with poor treatment or little rest may also be at risk of death.

To save the colonist, you can do the following:

  • Administer healer mech serum- instantly treats the infection
  • Administer luciferium- if pawn has 23% or more immunity gain speed remaining initially, this gives pawn a chance to survive
  • Amputation or part replacement
  • A biosculpter pod's medic cycle Content added by the Ideology DLC

Version history

At around Beta 18 infections caused a reduction in part efficiency, allowing them to kill much earlier than usual if a critically injured vital body part is infected and the infection causes the efficiency of that body part to drop below zero.