Friday, March 22, 2019

Is a zombie apocalypse possible?

The Walking Dead (c) AMC

Do you know what to do if a zombie comes for you? 
What about a zombie horde?
Should you be preparing yourself for the zombie apocalypse?

Zombies can be traced back most often to Haitian vodou/voodoo.  Put in a simplified way, in voodoo tradition, someone can sprinkle you with zombie powder, which will make you sick and kill you - dead and buried.  The voodoo bokor (sorcerer) will come to your grave, sprinkle something else and you will rise from your grave  and spend the rest of your so-called "life" as a slave to the bokor's commands until your dry up and your limbs fall off and you're dead for real this time. Though there is not one verified account of a voodoo zombie, voodoo practitioners believe in zombification and Hollywood has capitalized on that belief.

There is little of voodoo zombies in modern Hollywood. When we think of zombies now we really are afraid of virus-infected enraged people, sometimes dead (or undead), sometimes alive. Sometimes super-fast, sometimes super slow, but in every scenario the cause is some type of virus or parasite or toxic and it is rapidly infectious. 

Could a virus really wreck us like that?

World War Z (c) Paramount Pictures
Should you and your family prepare an escape plan, maybe buy a remote cottage (mountainous terrain always seem safer in movies), stock up on canned food and ammunition to combat a possible horde?

To this day there is no known way that a dead person can be reanimated.
Viruses or diseases can spread like a pandemic, especially in crowded places. It has happened with the "Black Death" or Great Plague that wiped out a whooping 50-60% of European population (20-25 million) in the middle ages. That outbreak spread quickly due to the crowded and unsanitary conditions that people lived in.

And this too happens nowadays: the flu, salmonella, bird flue, Spanish flu, rabies, foot-and-mouth-disease... They spread quickly already and they kill. But they ARE contained, they do not reanimate the dead, and they do not take over your brain.

There is no virus or disease that has been shown to act like zombies, turning humans or dead people into mindless or raging killers. Sanitary conditions and medicines are way more advanced than in the middle ages. Sure, many people still live in poor conditions and they would probably be very badly affected by an outbreak. 

But the possibility that we, you, living in a suburban or urban area, would be victims to a zombie apocalypse are slim to none. So don't go buying that bunker yet.


More reading:
Read about the Black Death: BBC.
Scientists have developed multiple techniques for detecting viruses very quickly: Live Science.


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