Rigelian fever, or Rigellian fever, also known as R-fever, was a deadly disease which originated from the Rigel system.
- By their names, origins and apparent symptoms, this disease may be the same as or related to Rigellian blood-burn fever and Orion blood fever.
It was similar to the bubonic plague of Earth, though with a faster incubation period. The disease damaged glandular systems in humanoids, which caused the victim to swell as it wreaked havoc with the body's temperature regulation mechanisms and "cooked" the victim from within. Even when treated, the fever could leave behind serious neurological or organ damage. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Rigelian fever was a cross-species disease, and had been known to severely affect many non-Rigelian races, including humans. There were at least five known strains of R-fever, with the penultimate strain being R4b, which was capable of mutating into two separate strains called R4b1 and R4b2. Of the two, R4b2 acted as a host virus which was potentially capable of causing multiple mutations if grafted onto certain other viruses with a similar hydrogen chain configuration. (TLE novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
- This information appeared on a computer display, together with images of cells. The term "gram positive" implies that Rigelian fever is a gram-positive bacterium, though Catalyst of Sorrows describes it as a virus. It is possible that the Rigelian fever virus has infected the gram-positive bacteria shown in the image.
Ancient records leftover from early Orion Empires showed outbreaks of diseases similar to Rigelian fever. Some even indicated that Rigelian fever may have been created by them as a biological weapon. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
At some point in the distant past, the planet Rigel IV was first affected by the disease which had a devastating impact on the world. Some of the inhabitants of Rigel IV for political reasons abandoned their home and emigrated to neighboring Rigel V where their physicians helped in the development of a vaccine against the illness. Whilst it was eliminated, some of the old families secretly keep cultures of Rigelian fever amongst themselves. (TLE novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
In modern times, it first appeared in the city of Sathura on Rigel IV in the 2120s, and killed 100,000 people. Outbreaks occurred every few generations on Rigel IV, and sometimes transmitted to starships through their crews. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
In 2154, Cold Station 12 kept a sample of Rigelian fever, one of the most lethal diseases kept there. Malik, an Augment, transferred the samples, along with those of three others, to his stolen Klingon bird-of-prey for use as a biological weapon. He later attempted to use these diseases against the Klingon Qu'Vat colony, but the attack was foiled. (ENT episodes: "Cold Station 12", "The Augments")
In 2157, Dr. Phlox helped cure a freight hauler crew of Rigelian fever, and the grateful captain gave information on Romulan movements in the Gamma Hydra sector. (ENT - The Romulan War novel: To Brave the Storm)
As of 2269, ryetalyn, a rare mineral, was the only known cure, provided it didn't contain irillium. The USS Enterprise suffered an outbreak of Rigelian fever, leaving three dead and most of the crew infected. The ship was forced to travel to Holberg 917G to collect ryetalyn. (TOS episode: "Requiem for Methuselah")
In 2273, Anton Zauber caused a Rigellian fever outbreak at the refueling station on Tarsus II by poisoning the water supply with gram-negative bacillus. His intent was to divert the Enterprise to the station with a medical emergency, then abduct Leonard McCoy. (TOS comic: "The Real McCoy")
By 2339, there had been no known cases of R-fever reported and therefore the disease became an artifact amongst medical schools which were studied but not in detail. During the Gnawing incident of 2360, it was believed that Cartos Thanmos had managed to mix the Romulan Gnawing disease with Rigelian fever thus creating a new and deadly pathogen which had infected several worlds. (TLE novel: Catalyst of Sorrows)
As a child, Harry Kim was exposed to Rigellian fever while playing with Orion children from an Orion diplomat's entourage. He was placed in quarantine for three days, but never developed symptoms. (VOY novelization: Caretaker)
After Betazoid explorers brought Rigelian fever to Betazed in the mid-23rd century, Betazoid doctors were able to develop a vaccine, though it proved too powerful for children under age six. During the Dominion occupation of Betazed in 2374 and 2375, there were numerous outbreaks of Rigelian fever among Betazoid children. (TNG novel: The Battle of Betazed)