Zonapha Syndrome (ゾナハ病, Zonaha-byō) is a fictional sickness and major plot point in Karakuri Circus.
Zonapha Syndrome is caused by a physiological dysfunction caused by third party parasympathetic dominance. Humans have a sympathetic nervous system and a parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, people are relaxed. Zonapha syndrome is where the body is affected by the parasympathetic nerves. When the body senses that people close by aren't relaxed, it causes an attack. When that happens, the trachea contracts, causing breathing difficulties and excruciating pain is felt in every nerve.
This is easily remediated by having nearby people to laugh, thus causing the Zonapha holder to relax, and the seizures to stop. However, this is only a temporary fix and not a permanent solution as the Zonapha progresses into deadlier phases.
Although thought to be an unknown pathogen, in truth, Zonapha is caused by micro-sized Automatas called Apollyon than have the shape of a bug. These machines enter into the system of their potential victims and cause aforementioned effects, and even worse (see below for the three stages).
Because Zonapha is contracted by Automata, it can affect any person, no matter their age or gender. The only exception are people who have consumed Aqua Vitae (Shiroganes at large), because their blood infused with Aqua Vitae is a natural enemy to Automata. People who have lived long enough along an Aqua Vitae carrier, can also develop an immunity themselves. Interesting and likely because of its original purpose, Automata is only seen affecting humans.
Three Stages Edit
Zonapha Syndrome has three phases or stages of progression, each more terrifying than the last. The time it takes to reach to one stage to another varies but without a permanent cure, every Zonapha carrier is at imminent risk.
Stage One Edit
The most basic stage. As disclosed above, at this point the infectee will have seizure attacks at random times where their trachea contracts, that will cease when the people nearby will laugh for them, thus causing a relaxation on the infectee's system. This is only a temporal solution and will not prevent people from reaching the next stage.
Stage Two Edit
At this point infectees have their mobility reduced and the attacks are more severe. There is an increased chance of death and most infectees at this point, actually succumb to the sickness and pass away. On this stage, laughing is hardly effective on infectees for the sickness has developed beyond what a mere laughter can remedy. Death on Stage Two although crude is by far and lot considered a blessing, for the true terror of Zonapha lies on those unfortunate enough to reach the last stage.
Stage Three Edit
The final and most terrible of all the Zonapha stages. People who have reached this stage are left on an absolutely catatonic state without any possibility to move or communicate through any means. Seizures have stopped, but there is a catch, people on this stage cannot die, as such they are doomed to suffer for an eternity as they are fundamentally dead on earth.
Cure & Treatment Edit
Although laughter can help calm Zonapha infectees to a degree on early stages, there is only one definitive cure for Zonapha, and that is the Aqua Vitae. Aqua Vitae not only is a powerful alchemic substance that can bestow great vitality and a variety of healing properties into the consumer, but it is also natural poison to the automata and since Zonapha is actually caused by micro-sized Automata, it is the perfect solution.
Origins & Background Edit
Zonapha was created by Bai Jin centuries before the present time. When the mad alchemist created his replication of Francine dosed with Aqua Vitae so she could be "alive" and serve as his bride, there was a major problem. Since Francine would not laugh or smile for him as it was alien to her nature, Bai Jin devised his own maniacal solution, he would develop the Zonapha Syndrome and spread it into the Quiberon's townspeople and infect them so as to force them to make Francine to laugh and also have his own sick revenge on the townspeople for their mistreatment of the human Francine.
Unfortunately, the Doll would not laugh for him and the infected would either die at stage two or reach stage three. Giving up on the Doll, Bai Jin discarded it and left to wander alone in the world. Zonapha, however, would continue to plague the world as the Midnight Circus would make it their mission (as it was their raison d'etre) to make Francine to laugh, so they would spread the mini-sized automata around the world infecting thousands if not millions of people over the years, up to the present day.