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- "The cells most clearly resemble bacteria, with viral behavior."
- —Heinrich Jagerwald
This particular enemy does not make a solid appearance in any game or element of the Dead Space franchise. However, it is present in all of them directly or not, even though we can never see it. The infection bacteria consists of a very important part of the story and is mentioned as a microorganism, infectious agent and other denominations most of the times; although it is once stated in a log that it resembles a bacteria. Aside from this piece of information, there is no official evidence of the mutation agent being a bacteria, virus or any other type.
The first form of the bacteria to appear was a small sheet of dead flesh found deep in the Chicxulub crater by Michael Altman who was attempting to reach the Black Marker site via bathysphere. He later collected a sample that had attached itself to a part of the bathysphere hull. Grote Guthe later did some research and successfully reproduced the bacteria that he accidentally injected in his own arm. As Guthe began to transform, he ran to the marker hoping it would help him resist the infection. The transformation seemed to stop (due to the Marker's effect to make the bacteria go into a dormant state when approaching the Marker to a certain radius) until Krax killed him and had his body transferred to another location, where it turned into an Infector. The bacteria was also synthesized from the Genetic Code given by the Marker to other people via hallucinations and visions. These people would write symbols on the walls, some of those were part of the DNA strain of the infection bacteria.
The bacteria is transmitted by contact with open wounds or direct injection in the subject. However, it will only cause a mutation on dead organisms or chunks of tissue. This can be observed throughout any game where Isaac Clarke is constantly wounded by Necromorphs and never seems to turn into one of them. Michael Altman also witnessed a scientist being killed by a Slasher and his body started to transform a few minutes later. Only under certain circumstances will the bacteria mutate living organisms such as the insertion of a large amount of infected material into the user's body, the implantation of the bacteria directly in the subjects brain or the infection of a subject badly wounded or with a weak or degraded immune system. This can be observed when analyzing the creation of the Hunter, Guardians and the transformation of Grote Guthe that was suffering of the Marker's effects and had not slept in a week.
- The infection bacteria as well as the Necromorphs cannot approach the Marker without entering a dormant state.
- The infection can only spread under the effect of a Marker. If the Marker responsible for the contamination of a certain area is completely destroyed, the bacteria will die and the Necromorphs (including the Corruption) will dissolve into a soup-like material.
- Aside from the infection by the bacteria, the only way to create a Necromorph is when the Marker's signal deliberately alters the DNA of an affected organism, living or dead.
- Infectors seem to inject some sort of yellow liquid in corpses turning them into Necromorphs. It is possible that this yellow bile contains the infection bacteria.
- Also Slashers and other Necromorphs seem to sometimes drool and bleed the same yellow bile which is another evidence that they carry the bacteria and infect prey by opening wounds in them.
- Some frequencies of the Marker's signals transmit the DNA of the infection bacteria.
- Also some hallucinations caused by the Marker make the affected people see "symbols" that can be translated into the infection bacteria as well as blueprints for the duplication of the Marker.
- The Corruption is formed by dead infected tissue and copious amounts of bacteria that release the gases responsible for its "vomit" like smell.
- The infection bacteria seems to duplicate extremely fast. It is stated that "A single bacterium reproduces twenty-fold in just one minute."
- The bacteria infects the host cells through osmosis and then mutates and reproduces.
- It is possible that the bacteria infects living cells but is unable to reproduce until the cell is dead because it would be fought by the subjects immune system. That would explain why the bacteria mutates mostly dead tissue and weakened organisms.
- Apparently the bacteria cannot travel through massive amounts of salt water on its own. It can, however, live in infected organisms or reproduce in small pieces of tissue, creating the "sheets" seen by Altman in the Chicxulub crater.
- Another piece of evidence of the mutation agent being a bacteria and not a virus is that it must be transmitted by contact with open wounds and cannot travel by air or similar ways.
- The DNA of the infection bacteria is similar to human DNA.