The Troglodyte Degeneration Contagion or Troglitic Degeneration Contagion (TDC) is a degenerative disease that plagues all the inhabitants of the Pitt. According to Dr. Sandra Kundanika, it is the result of intensively concentrated ambient radiation exposure combined with the unique industrial toxins and pollutants in the region that surrounds what was once Pittsburgh, an effect that is intensified by the fact that half of the Pitt's inhabitants have resorted to cannibalism.
According to Dr. Kundanika, all people who live in TDC-active areas experience skin lesions after a few weeks of exposure. These are reversible, as they may clear after a month or more away from the area. For many sufferers this is the full extent of the effect. For a certain percentage of people exposed to the toxins of the Pitt region, TDC also alters the brain chemistry and thereby produces psychological effects, turning the affected into wildmen.
Approximately 20% of the adults exposed to the TDC lose higher reasoning and motor skills over the course of several years, degenerating into the feral mutants called "trogs." Nobody has ever recovered from full degeneration, although there are rumors that trogs retain some memories and recognize the faces of loved ones.
Children born in TDC-infested areas have a nearly 100% degeneration rate, turning feral within weeks after birth, with one sole exception.
Marie, daughter of Sandra Kundanika and Ishmael Ashur, was born with a natural adaptive immunity to TDC, offering hope that one day a cure for the Pitt's whole population can be developed. So far, the efforts at synthesizing this cure have been slow-going, mostly because Marie is still a baby, and, being the only test subject, she must be treated with care.