In The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023), what disease did the man from District 12 suffer from, and why did he attempt to kill Lucy Gray Baird?

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Jessup is suffering from a mutant strain of rabies and has entered the 'furious' stage, in which victims are liable to become irrationally angry and aggressive.

As the camera moved in on Jessup, it became apparent that he was ill, not hurt. Stiff-limbed and feverish with excitement, he swiped at the sun a few times before crouching down and springing almost immediately back to his feet for his first close-up.

Coriolanus wondered if Lucy Gray had found a way to poison him, but that didn’t make sense. Jessup was too valuable as a protector, especially with the pack that had formed last night running around. What, then, ailed him?

Any number of things could’ve sickened him, any range of maladies been suspected, if it hadn’t been for the telltale foam that began to bubble over his lips.

“He’s rabid,” Lysistrata said softly.
Rabies had made a comeback in the Capitol during the war. With doctors needed in the field, and facilities and supply lines compromised by the bombings, medical treatment had become sketchy for humans, like Coriolanus’s mother, and almost nonexistent for the pampered Capitol pets. Vaccinating your cat wasn’t on the list of priorities when you couldn’t scrape up enough money for bread. How it began remained a matter of debate — an infected coyote from the mountains? A nocturnal encounter with a bat? — but the dogs spread it. Most of them were starving, abandoned casualties of the war themselves. From dog to dog, and then to people. The virulent strain developed with unprecedented speed, killing over a dozen Capitol citizens before a vaccination program brought it under control.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes


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