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4


I bet DW will screw up the formatting here, and I need to clean up when I use numbers and spell them out. Editing in progress. )
77 years old / Yamairi

Cause of death unknown
 
Murasako Hidemasa -- (August 1st?)
75 years old / Yamairi

Cause of death unknown
 
Murasako Mieko -- August 5th
68 years old / Yamairi

Acute liver failure?
 
Gotouda Shuuji -- August 6th
39 years old / Kami-Sotoba

Acute heart failure

Cause of death unknown
 
Hirosawa Takatoshi -- August 11th
28 years old / Naka-Sotoba

Acute Heart Failure
 
Shimizu Megumi -- August 15th
15 years old / Shimo-Sotoba

Cause of death Unknown
 
Yasumori Giichi -- August 17th
74 years old / Monzen

Pneumonia
 
Ohtsuka Yasuyuki -- August 18th
35 years old / Shimo-Sotoba

Acute liver failure
 
Gotouda Fuki -- August 21st
69 years old / Kami-Sotoba

Acute renal failure? 
 
Shimizu Ryuuji -- August 23rd
41 years old / Sotoba

Acute heart failure

Seishin peered at his notes.

"Aside from Giichi-san, cause unknown or acute failure, is what it comes down to isn't it?"

"That'd be one way to put it. Anyone's sudden death can be expressed in terms of unexpected organ failure. The one and only exception seems to be Giichi-san, it's just that..." Toshio started, the edges of his brows knitting together as he fixed his eyes on the memo. The word organ failure is used to denote a condition where the nature of what caused the fatal damage to the function of the organ can't be properly defined. It's rare for just one organ to shut down in one shot. It usually happens that one organ's functioning declines and it influences the other organs, advancing to multiple organ failures. It usually involves symptoms showing for the whole body. Even with only one cause of death, the odds are high that there'll be symptom across multiple organs. That was the case with Mieko baa-san."

Ah, Seishin nodded. Mieko had been dissected with problems discovered here and there. It was said to be liver failure but that was because of the striking necrosis of her liver.

"A compromised host is another possibility. A being whose immune system has been weakened gets prone to infection. Giichi-san's pnuemonia isn't impossible to see as a link in this, so we can't just split them up based on the cause of death. While there's still a question mark on all this, it's better to calculate them all as serial deaths, isn't it?"

Seishin nodded.

"Symptoms they all have in common are---sudden outbreak, organ failure, full body problems?"

"I didn't oversee its progression so I can't say anything but looking just at this, I think we can say that it leads to multiple organ failure. Whether it's the liver breaking down or the heart breaking down doesn't matter, there's some kind of cause, and there's the impression that in the end it leads to multiple organ failure, right?"

Ishida tilted his head, and Toshio gave a breath.

"In other words, I'm saying this. I don't know if it's an infection, poisoning, or something else. At any rate, there's a culprit, and you can think of it having killed ten people. Mieko-san died of liver failure. But that can't be definitively said to be because our serial killer attacked the liver. The serial killer might've attacked another part.

In truth, looking at Mieko baa-san's autopsy report, of course there was the liver, but the lungs, heart, kidneys, all the vital organs showed signs of problems. The serial killer might've attacked the lungs first. The other organs functions declined, pulled along the problems with her lungs, and in the end the liver was the first to give out, is another way it could be interpreted."

"Ah, I see."

"Something attacked ten people. With it as the trigger, their whole body's functioning suffered, with multiple organs' decreased functioning, is the best way to think of it. The problem is what's inducing the multiple organ failure, that's what we have to figure out but---"

"Absolutely terrible, this is just," Ishida was at his wits end. "This is huge!"

"The death toll is ten, and there's the possibility that each of them had the same pattern. First, the thing to do is look for the common cause."

"Common cause?"

"That's right. The ten people should have something in common. They set foot in the same place, touched something, ate the same thing, ---there should be something."

Seishin looked at the written notes. The years were scattered, the first three cases were in the community of Yamairi but the places were scattered, it didn't look like there was any place that it was inclined towards. When he said as much, Toshio nodded.

"Seven men, three women, it'd be a weak inclination if any. There're the elderly but there's also a high school student. Territorially, you could say it's all over Sotoba. The first three were generally restricted to Yamairi in their daily habits, it might have seemed like ti was restricted to Yamairi but I can't imagine Megumi-chan setting foot in Yamairi. Much less Giichi-san who's bedridden. It's more likely to think the other nine people came into Monzen but if something that was the cause was in Monzen, then it doesn't make sense that there's only one death in Monzen. There should be more deaths in Monzen."

Ishida groaned. "There's no choice but to go door to door and see if anything matches. I'll----"

"That'd be bad," Toshio stopped Ishida. "If Ishida-san goes out asking persistently, the family will think something's up. There should be a more discrete way to investigate."

"For the time being," Seishin said taking the notes from Toshio. "I'll try asking as much as I'm able. Either way, I will be going into most of the houses for memorial services after all. It isn't as if I have no connections to Shimizu Gardening or the Ohtsuka Sawmill after all, I can probably at least start a conversation to ask them. For this Hirosawa Takatoshi person, even, I may be able to find out something through connections with the parish families."

Toshio exhaled. "It's incredibly suspicious but that'd be the most quiet way to do it. Then, we'll leave this to Seishin."

Seishin nodded.

"For the time being, we'll suspect an epidemic as the worst case scenario. If we do that, there's no problem thinking that Fuki-san caught it from Shuuji-san. The problem is Shuuji-san, who'd be suspected to have caught it from Hidemasa-san more than anyone else. There's a possibility that the compass needle in this case is pointing to one of the first three in Yamairi."

Seishin nodded and took the notes.

"Megumi-chan fell on August 11th, and died on the 15th. I don't know what her condition was on the tenth but for the time being if we think of the outbreak as being on the eleventh, it was four days until she died."

"Fuki-san was saying that Shuuji-san's condition was off two or three days before."

"The day of the outbreak isn't clear but it looks the same as Megumi's case as expected. The Murasako's Mieko-san came in to the hospital on---" Toshio's eyes fell to the notebook. "July 30th, a Saturday, for Gigorou-san's medicine. At that time she was saying how Gigorou-san had caught a summer cold, and that Hidemasa-san seemed to have caught it, too. The police autopsy estimated their day of death as around August 1st. I don't know when Hidemasa-san had the outbreak but if it was the day before we were told about his poor condition, thinking of it as on the twenty ninth, it was three days until he died."

 
Shimizu Megumi -- Outbreak - August 11 (?)
Died - August 15th
Gotouda Shuuji -- Outbreak - August 3rd (?)
Died - August 5th
Ohkawa Gigorou --Outbreak - July 28th (?)
Died - August 1st (?)
Murasako Hidemasa -- Outbreak - July 29th (?)
Died - August 1st (?)

 
 
"Either way, between the outbreak and death there are only a few days. If we assume for argument's sake a breadth of about five days, Fuki-san's corpse that was discovered on the 21st---when her death was probably the day before on the 20th, making the outbreak probably on the 15th or later."

Seishin nodded.
 
Gotouda Fuki -- Outbreak - August 15th (?)
Died - August 20th
 
 
"I think Fuki-san was sure to have caught it from Shuuji-san. Shuuji-san's death was on the sixth, estimated outbreak on the third. Between Shuuji-san's outbreak and Fuki-san's outbreak is an interval of twelve days. If we count from when Shuuji-san died, it becomes nine days. The spread is from one to two weeks, which would make that the incubation period. Megumi-chan's outbreak was on the eleventh, which means Megumi-chan was infected somewhere between August 4th to July 19th. This overlaps right with when the three in Yamairi had their outbreak and died. If it was a direct infection, Megumi-chan would have had to have contact with the three in Yamairi at this time but---she wouldn't, would she? Not normally."

Seishin and Ishida nodded. The odds of a highschooler living in Shimo-Sotoba making contact with three old people who lived in Yamairi were low no matter how one thought about it.

"Because that indeed doesn't seem to be the case, if we could clarify that she had contact with them, we could say with certainty that it was a direct infection, but. Mieko baa-san's death was on August 4th. Since when she came to the hospital on the 30th she didn't say a word about anything feeling wrong with her, the outbreak must have been after that on the thirty first or August 1st, without much doubt."
 
Murasako Mieko -- Outbreak - July 31st (?)
Died - August 5th
 
"With that, the infection was between July 17th and the 20th, so thinking that she contracted it from Hidemasa-san at this time is a little unreasonable. It's probably more appropriate to think that Gigorou-san and Hidemasa-san happened one right after the other."

"Something happened in the middle of July. And probably in Yamairi."

"Probably. If they didn't go out anywhere during that time, the source of the contagion is in Yamairi. The problem is Shuuji-san."

"Was it the people of Yamairi, or possibly Yamairi itself."

"That's what it comes to, doesn't it? It's not clear if the Yasumori's Giichi-san had the same disease orn ot but if we say it is the same thing, he was infected more or less at the same time as Megumi-chan. However Giichi-san was bedridden, he couldn't have gone out himself. Right now, there's nobody at the Maruyasu Sawmill who's in bad condition, so if somebody infected him, somebody paying a sick visit would be suspect. Did anyone pay a sick visit to Giichi-san's place at the end of July---moreover, someone connected to Yamairi."

"I'll try asking," Seishin jotted as much down on his notes. "---Is there anything else?"

"The Yasumori Contracting firm. Today, Nao-san from the contractors came for an examination. I did as many examinations as I could but it was clearly anemia. Other than that there was nothing wrong that could be said to be it. It's the same, like Megumi-chan."

Seishin's hand stopped as he looked to Toshio's face.

"It can't be---?"

"I can't make a proclemation of it but the likelihood is high. Today's the 24th, so if Nao-san was infected, it was between August 10th and August 17th. Just around when Giichi-san died."

The Yasumori Contractors were a branch family of the Maruyasu Sawmill. Giichi was the oldest sun of the Yasumori enterprises, Tokujirou's older brother. Even beyond work, their connections were deep, and the houses were close and intimate.

"According to what Nao-san herself said when I asked her, she didn't go anywhere in particular nor did anything special happen. She didn't go to Yamairi, and didn't meet with the three from Yamairi. She doesn't know Gotouda Shuuji-san. She's only heard of his name, that's about it. But, when going over to the sawmill, it seems she met with Giichi-san countless times when seeing how he was doing. Of course, she also came to the all night vigil. If Nao-san does have what we're talking about, there's probably no mistake in thinking Giichi-san had it."

Ishida gave a deep sigh and shook his head. "Then, anyway, for that much we will depend on the Junior Monk's kindness... After that, concretely, what do we...?

Toshio gave a small groan.

"At any rate, we don't have enough information. First, we need to quickly get a grasp on what's happening. To say it concretely, our top priority is the particular cause of death. The disease's specific name, or otherwise its specific cause. What's the cause for so many deaths, what's this thing's nature, we need to make it clear whether it's a contagion or not. We'll need a clinical sample for that. Like it is now, everything over and jumping to announcing their deaths, we can't give a satisfactory cause of death."

Seishin murmured. "But, we cant to avoid a situation where patients flood the hospital spurred in by worry...."

"Right. That's the dilemma. The bottleneck here is that the initial symptoms are basic and easy to overlook. We don't have any choice but to have Ishida-san handle this by passing arond a warning notice about not leave summer colds or fatigue from the heat to a layperson's judgement."

Ishida nodded. "Anyways, I will make the leaflets ASAP. How do leaflets with the symptoms of summer colds or summer heat's symptoms and how to treat those conditions sound?"

"I'd be grateful if you could do it like that. And how to assess cases of summer colds or summer heat, and along with that how to treat those in-home, and that if the symptoms don't match, or if how treatment is having no effect, to go to the hospital."

"I'll do it. And urgently."

"Counting on it. And if there are any death certificates that come into the office from doctors other than me, I want to know about them right away."

"I will send copies of the death certificates. It would be better to avoid faxing them, wouldn't it?"

"That's right. That'd probably be better. I'm sorry for the trouble of the trip, but please deliver them directly."

"Understood.

"From there, I'll count on Seishin for the investigations on the dead. I'll let you know the details of the investigation later. We can't talk about the circumstances, so it can't be helped that you'l have to ask about things in the indirect range. Since the victims themselves are already dead anyway, there's a limit to how much can be investigated, too. Rather, I don't want to make things worse."

Seishin nodded and looked to Toshio. "What about Mizobe and the Health Department?"

"That's the problem. What can we do about that."

"We can't very well keep it quiet, can we? At any rate, you have passed on the death tolls from the branch office up to the government office haven't you, Ishida-san?"

"Not the ones from August yet but, I will send them up immediately."

Toshio exhaled. "For now, there's no real obligation to report things up to the Health Department, but. It's probably necessary to report that there's been a lot of deaths."

Ishida nodded. "I'll report that there's a possibility of a massive disease outbreak."

"I've got my doubts they'll believe it or see it as a problem and take any action, but. Anyway, let them know that we've gotten this far. Afterwards we'll get together to see how far we've gotten."

"How does one week sound?"

"Sounds fine. And it'd probably be best to indirectly at least get Kanemasa involved. I'll take care of contacting him."

"And Tamo?" Seishin asked. Tamo Sadaichi was someone who could essentially be called the village headman. Essentially it was something for which the three pillars should be called together for. "We likely should need to inform Sadaichi-san too?"

Toshio was caught in thought. "Let's keep that quiet for now, sorry to say to Sadaichi-san. In the first place we've still got some doubts, and we don't have a single thing nailed down for sure yet. If Sadaichi-san asks, then we can't not report the true state of affairs to him but if he doesn't then it's probably better to wait until we at least know if it's an epidemic or not. If he knows about it, there's no way he can't report it to the Ward Headman's Association, after all."

That's true, said Ishida taking the notepad and closing it. "Well then, for the time being it will be between this group."
 
 
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