Real Scientific Study Says We're "Grossly Unprepared" for a Zombie Apocalypse

Monday, 04 January 2016 - 3:25PM
Weird Science
Monday, 04 January 2016 - 3:25PM
Real Scientific Study Says We're "Grossly Unprepared" for a Zombie Apocalypse
A zombie apocalypse is probably fairly low on humanity's list of concerns; we're much more likely to be wiped out by nuclear war, global warming, or overpopulation. But because the likelihood is low, humanity has done very little to prepare for it on a large scale, and across the globe governments are sorely underprepared to prevent a Walking Dead-esque post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least according to a bonafide peer-reviewed study from epidemiologist Tara Smith from Kent State University.

Opening quote
Zombies-also known as walkers, Zed, Zs, biters, geeks, stiffs, roamers, Zeke, ghouls, rotters, Zoms, and runners-have become a dominant part of the medical landscape. Zombie expert Matt Mogk defines a zombie with three criteria: it is a reanimated human corpse; it is relentlessly aggressive; and it is biologically infected and infectious. But Mogk notes that this definition has been altered by the recognition of "rage" zombies, which are infected but still alive. They are more closely related to vampires infected with the contagious bacterium Bacillus vampiris.
Closing quote

The study almost reads like a satire, as Smith weaves in multiple portrayals of zombies in popular culture as if they actually happened. For example, she discusses the devastating "Solanum virus" outbreak, which is a reference to Max Brooks's Zombie Survival Guide, the inspiration for the film World War Z. "Whether this virus is the cause of the current outbreak in the United States has not been tested," she writes, in reference to the many, many zombie shows and movies in the US, but mostly The Walking Dead.

She specifies that "rage zombies" are distinct and more recent, starting with the "Trixie virus" outbreak in 1973 (a reference to the film "The Crazies"), and the resurgence in 2010 (the remake). The most notable rage zombies were caused by an infection spread by chimpanzees in 2002 (28 Days Later), which led to a complete quarantine of Britain.

Opening quote
Twenty eight weeks into the outbreak, after many of the zombies had died from starvation, a rare asymptomatic carrier of the virus was discovered, beginning a second wave of infections.
Closing quote

She then examines the state of humanity's preparation for such a crisis, and found that basically, there is none. If we experience a highly contagious zombie virus, we are, indeed, toast.

Opening quote
Several models of zombie infections have shown that in the event of a large scale outbreak (for example, zombie entry into a city of 500,000 or more) humans face extermination. Chances of survival start out slightly higher in sparsely populated areas, but they eventually become overwhelmed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have published details of the preparations that should be made in the case of a pending zombie outbreak. Unfortunately most countries remain grossly unprepared for a potential disaster of this nature.
Closing quote

She cites zombie expert Max Brooks in claiming that world governments will need to publicly and privately acknowledge the existence of these "walkers," in order to create a society in which they are marginalized and vaccinated against (she also notes that anti-vaxxers would remain a serious problem). If they weren't able to come together, we'd be looking at an all-out war between humans and zombies.

Opening quote
For the sake of humanity we must ensure that such a war does not occur and that we work together as a unified global community to respond quickly to any and all new zombie threats.
Closing quote
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