428 Gastroscope

    Inside the large office connected to all the quarantine rooms, there were only Wang Ruoxiang, Lin Sizhe and Chen Xiang. They sat in a row to observe the situation inside one of the rooms. The patient, Zhou Wenke was madly engulfing that 50 grams of abnormal soil.

    "Hmm, hmm..." The strange guttural sound came from the speaker. The patient ate like he had been starved for days, it reminded Chen Xiang of those zombies in video games. The way he ingested the soil would greatly injure his intestinal tract. After consuming all the soil, Zhou Kewen grumbled in anxiety, "I need more, this is not enough. Is there more? I need more!"

    "Student Zhou, please calm down." Wang Ruoxiang consoled without abiding by his request. In the earlier experiments, in less than a minute after the patients consumed the soil, their bodies reacted with food poisoning. So whether the difference in soil would matter or not would be told immediately. The time ticked by on the clock. 1 minute passed and then 2 minutes, 3 minutes. A whole 5 minutes later, Zhou Wenke did not exhibit signs of food poisoning. His vitals were stable and his mind was clear, if one ignored his constant yearning for more soil.

    "There's the result. The abnormal soil is clearly ingestible by the patients." Lin Sizhe concluded.

    "More than that, the patient's vitals became more stable." Chen Xiang observed. From all the physical observation, it was like the patient had been given some kind of miracle drug and not soil. Wang Ruoxiang pondered the meaning behind this. The patients yearned for these soils but in terms of composition, these were just normal soils...

    "Student Zhou, we will send in some bread, banana and water. If you finish them all, we will provide you with another 10 grams of soil." She continued with the next step of the experiment, the donkey and the carrot stick. Soon another robot cart rolled into the room. It carried 100 grams of bread, 50 grams of banana and 200 ml of water. With the soil as a reward, Zhou Kewen practically sucked all the food down his throat. Five minutes later, he did not show any negative signs. As promised, Wang Ruoxiang gave the patient 10 grams of soil. Like before, nothing happened either. If the patient only desired after this particular soil, then they could be diagnosed with allotriophagy... but the problem was the supernatural implication behind this strange dietary desire. Was this a sign of the mutated locusts being present inside the patient's body?

    The answer would have to wait. After all, 4 days had passed from Arbor Day to Headmaster Chui's self-destruction.

    Due to the emergency of the situation, the medical team conducted the first gastroscopy 5 hours after the patient's ingestion of the soil and the surgery was repeated every 5 hours after that. In the meantime, the trio continued with the experiment on the other patients. The second patient, Sun Chuiting did not participate in the previous experiment. She was 37, a female teacher. Soon all 6 patients finished the experiment and none showed negative response.

    Wang Ruoxiang reported the finding to the headquarters. From her observation, none of the patients showed worsened condition after being given the soil. If the patients could maintain this positive status and no trace of parasite was found inside their bodies, then this could be a temporary solution...

    On 18th March, at 02:34, in less than 4 hours after consuming the soil, the first patient reported great abdominal pain. Zhou Kewen's face blanched as cold sweat slid down his cheeks. He described the pain as 'his stomach twisting like something was crawling inside it.' Wang Ruoxiang and her colleagues immediately jumped into action. Things appeared to have headed south after all. They did not understand the illness' pathology but the thing that worried them the most was whether they could progress with gastroscopy. Normally, one had to be on an empty stomach for gastroscopy as food and digested remnants would block the view and prevent the doctors from getting a good view of the stomach tissue and the procedure would cause nausea. However in this case, they needed to check for the presence of parasites inside the patient's stomach so they had to carry on with it. After entering the room, Wang Ruoxiang injected Zhou Kewen with sedative and applied anesthetic around his throat.

    "Doctor, I don't want to die..." Zhou Kewen pleaded. The young man's face scrunched up from pain and fear. Tears welled up in his eyes. Both Lin Sizhe and Chen Xiang moved to detain the patient. Zhou Kewen was still conscious so he cooperated by lying as still as he could.

    "I know, we will do our best. Now we'll start with a gastroscopy." Wang Ruoxiang explained the details of the procedure consolingly to the patient. Then she focused to start. The painless gastroscopic device was placed beside the bed. She held the front of the scope in her right hand and slowly inserted it into the patient's mouth cavity. Normally, the patient would feel a bit nauseous at this stage. Zhou Kewen was no exception. His throat swallowed involuntarily, causing the upper esophageal sphincter to open. At that moment, Wang Ruoxiang slid the gastroscope through the opening.

    "Urgh..." Zhou Kewen groaned in pain.

    The slender scope slowly reached into the patient's stomach. The video captured was shown live on the gastroscope monitor. As Wang Ruoxiang adjusted the scope, she studied the monitor. Her brows slowly pleated.

    On the monitor, red flesh showed peristaltic movement. She was at the esophagus. All the undigested food was exposed. Some stuck to the stomach lining, others churned following the patient's swallowing motion. Brown soil was mixed with blood and barely digested food. It looked a mess.

    On the stomach lining, and among the digested glob, there were threads of half-transparent objects. They were not affected by stomach acid and wiggled constantly. They looked like anisakis, a kind of parasite that grew inside oceanic creatures and human bodies. The human would get infected by it through ingestion of infected fish. They were immune to stomach acid because they had great penetrative ability. They would penetrate through the stomach wall, causing gastric perforation. For now, there was no drug to counter this parasite. The only solution was to manually retrieve them out from the stomach. Those infected by anisakis would fall ill within 1 to 5 days. Clinical symptoms included nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain...

    If Zhou Kewen went to a common hospital in this condition, he'd be diagnosed with anisakis infection. But since Lin Sizhe had participated in Headmaster Chui's autopsy, he recognized the parasite easily as locust worm and not anisakis. Wang Ruoxiang could give an even more detailed analysis. She had seen this kind of parasite in various organs of Headmaster Chui's body. They were the most common, youngest stage of the abnormal locusts.

    They were present, the parasite was present inside the patient's body.

    On the day of Headmaster Chui's explosion, Zhou Kewen was standing at the very back of the group. In terms of distance, he could not have been in contact with the spray of parasites.

    "What is that..." Wang Ruoxiang's brows deepened. She saw a piece of stomach lining was turning translucent. It then rapidly disintegrated into a cluster of worms. The original stomach lining turned scorched brown, like it had been burned. There was no trace of blood. The newly formed worms wiggled as they submerged into the stomach liquid and flowed with it down into the intestines. It would then turn the intestine into an ocean of parasites.

    "What is happening?" Lin Sizhe was dumbfounded. He saw with disbelief as human tissues transmuted into parasites. Even though Chen Xiang was an Action Department member, he knew how bad the situation was. If stomach lining could be transmuted, then what about human muscles or skin?

    Seeing the change to their expression, Zhou Kewen instantly groaned louder. Clearly he was concerned by what they saw. Wang Ruoxiang was silent, she found herself unable to utter empty consolation like 'you're fine, everything's fine'.

    Thinking back to the parasites that infiltrated every part of the Headmaster Chui's body, including the bones, her heart chilled and her ears buzzed...

    There was no need for eggs, these infected victims did not need to ingest the parasitic eggs. Based on what they saw... Any part of the patients could be transmuted into this kind of locust worm before their whole body was morphed into a pile of worms. The pathogen existed on a higher plane.

    The patients did not need to ingest the eggs because they themselves were the eggs. The ingestion of the abnormal soil was to gain the necessary nutrient to grow...

    Locust Sickness, this was truly the Locust Sickness.
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