The Raider disease is a disease found in the Hoofington region of the Equestrian Wasteland. The disease is named after the end result of the disease and the effects and behaviors it causes in its victims. It is known to the Zebras as "Blood Hunger Plague."
The Raider disease originated within the Zebra empire/homeland. During severe famines, zebras would turn to cannibalism and develop a craving for flesh. The Raider virus is resistant to normal means of viral destruction (like cooking.)
The Raider virus was prevalent within Zebra detainment camps in Hoofington, due to a lack of food supplies, which were being hoarded and sold by the Ponies running the establishments. Zebra tribes that are infected are quarantined and then burned alive, to destroy any trace of the virus.
The smallest strip of infected meat, used in a meal, can infect a pony, making Zebra especially cautious when cooking.
The Raiders in Hoofington, like Raiders in other parts of Equestria are known to eat meat. They will quite often turn to cannibalism to sustain themselves. Many of the Hoofington Raiders are afflicted with the disease.
The worst part is the disease can be spread relatively easily, but it has to enter a Pony's system. This can happen by eating infected meat (i.e, infected ponies.) Or it can be caught from bites from carriers or sexual intercourse (Overmare in Stable 99).
An infected Pony has no fear of self preservation, they are raving lunatics that retain the ability to talk and operate weapons. The Enclave in Hoofington knows of the disease, Operative Lighthooves was studying it extensively and infected a farming family with food given to them.
Pegasi are resistant to the virus as they are the furthest removed from regular equines/zebra. More advanced strains have been shown to be under development to combat the immunity.
A Raider in the making will begin to show signs gradually. The rate of the disease's spread seems to vary from pony to pony.
A pony will first begin to act irrationally, they can be found muttering to themselves, cackling madly but still retaining some sanity. A Pony's mental barriers will begin to degrade as their minds begin to spongify in places, very much like mad cow disease.
An infected pony's body starts to get cravings for protein, manifested in a hunger for flesh and meat. An infected pony will turn to cannibalism to satiate this hunger, eating their fellow Ponies with fervour and glee and often gnawing on themselves. Infected ponies have no qualms about killing, and will kill other ponies and happily eat them. They also show a penchant for cruelty and torture, the infected Overmare sexually abused P-21 when he was captured (it's possible that the behaviour had nothing to do with the disease at all, as she had sexually abused him in the past.)
In the final stage of the infection, Raiders will then gather around one that shows some sort of leadership quality. The citizens of Stable 99 would've rallied behind the infected Overmare, because she had always been the leader, they would've rallied around the next strongest leader in the Stable (presumably Rivets) when they learned of her death.
The disease takes a long time, but it will eventually kill a Raider. Most Raiders die by being killed either a source of food for their fellow infected, or by the bullet of a wastelander. Raiders who cannot find a source of meat will often eat themselves, this is evidenced by numerous Raiders, pock-marked with bite marks on their bodies.
A Raider will indulge in their hunger for meat whenever possible. They can go overboard as shown by a Raider whose stomach ruptured from eating too much meat.
- Deus led a group of Raiders in his assault of Stable 99. It is unknown if these Raiders were all infected by the Raider virus, but some of them were and spread it to the stable.
- A group of Crusaders were rescued by Blackjack and P-21 on their first days out of Stable 99, from a group of Raiders.
- Raiders were used by the Burner boys as living bombs. They would run at enemies, frothing at the mouth and then explode.
- The Reapers would occasionally cull the Raider populations when they got too large.
- The entire population of Stable 99, excluding Scotch Tape and a holdout group became infected with the disease. They were infected by eating infected food, produced by the Stable's recycling system. The virus got into the recycling system when the Stable ponies disregarded Blackjacks warnings and disposed of the dead raider ponies, via the recycling system, instead of taking them outside or incinerating them.
- The Withers and Pony Joe's are popular nests of Raider activity.
- Pegasus Ponies are immune to the Raider disease, it affects earth ponies and unicorns, because they are more closely related to zebra who can also get infected.
- The disease originated in the Zebra homeland.
- Based on the fact the Zebra language is essentially Latin, the original name for Blood Hunger Plague would be "Sanguis Famem Pestis."