Contagious Woman Escapes From Hospital, Triggering Zombie Outbreak Concerns

Thursday, 15 March 2018 - 9:58AM
Weird Science
Dystopias
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Thursday, 15 March 2018 - 9:58AM
Contagious Woman Escapes From Hospital, Triggering Zombie Outbreak Concerns
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Image Credit: Pixabay Composite
We all know how zombie apocalypses kick off. All it takes is one infected patient escaping quarantine before a deadly disease starts spreading across a wide area. Humans are good at sharing their germs with each other; it wouldn't take long for the T-virus or a similar alternative to lay waste to large swathes of the population.

It's a chilling prospect – one that becomes all the more terrifying when these events play out in real life.

Yesterday, police in the county of Gloucester in England cautioned residents to be on the lookout for Kayleigh McConnon, a patient of the local Cheltenham General Hospital, who went missing at around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night.

According to the police, McConnon was suffering from an unnamed and severe "contagious condition." They further advised that under no circumstances was she to be approached by the public, for fear of contamination and the spread of the unidentified illness.




Details surrounding the case are sketchy. For some reason, police will not disclose which contagious disease McConnon is suffering from – which makes the whole incident seem incredibly sinister. If she had chicken pox, after all, there wouldn't be any problem with letting people know.

There are also no clear reports on why McConnon wanted to escape from her hospital quarantine, or what she hoped to accomplish by doing so.

McConnon was eventually found and returned to the hospital the next day – but her whereabouts and actions during her time on the lam in Cheltenham remain a mystery. (For all we know, she could have licked all the buttons at pedestrian crossings.)

The fear of zombie plagues runs deep in our culture at the moment but, in truth, a disease spread by blood contamination – even one that induces erratic behavior in a host – isn't a huge threat to our species as a whole. After all, biting isn't the easiest way to infect people, which may be why rabies has never taken off as an epidemic among humans.

What's more worrying is the possibility that McConnon is infected with an easily-transmitted disease, of which there are many.

Tom Clancy's The Division, for example, imagines a world in which a modified version of the common cold infects most of the US population in a matter of weeks, at which point society breaks down entirely. Outbreaks of these kinds of diseases are uncommon in the developed world – but they do happen periodically, as any Hong Konger who remembers SARS will attest.

The scariest thing about this situation is how quickly germs can spread: all it takes is one infected person staggering into an airport to put the global population at risk.

This isn't to say that you should start freaking out right now. McConnon's case will likely prove (almost) entirely harmless. The great epidemic threat to our global population will almost certainly be overusing antibiotics, thus creating superbugs that can't be killed through traditional means.

We could all get sick – at any time, from any number of potential infections – but least we probably won't get bitten by zombies. ...Probably.

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Contagious Woman Escapes From English Hospital, Triggering Zombie Outbreak Concerns
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