The microbiology of zombies, part I

(Spoilers below!)

For Walking Dead fans and readers of this blog, you probably know why I was all excited about some of the plot elements that have been included thus far this season: possible zoonotic disease, and in particular, a potential influenza outbreak that may have originated in pigs. I muse about this and other infections in an article for, and will have additional thoughts about zombies and infectious disease more generally in the coming days.

See also:

Part II: ineffective treatments and how not to survive the apocalypse

Part III: "We're all infected"

Part IV: hidden infections

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(As previously, spoilers abound) So on this week's Walking Dead soap opera, we find that Daryl/Michonne's group is still out and about searching for medical supplies. Back at the prison, the food situation is dire (apparently all the food stores were in the cell block where the infection broke out…
(Spoilers. And things.) After the start of season 4 of the Walking Dead and the introduction of a new nemesis: a fast-spreading, deadly infectious disease that seems to be a strain of influenza, I was looking forward to the plot arc of this season. And then episode 3, "Isolation", happened. From an…
Part I: the microbiology of zombies Part II: ineffective treatments and how not to survive the apocalypse Part III: “We’re all infected” Part IV: hidden infections Part V: beware the bite?
Warning: here be spoilers In many latter-day zombie movies, books, and TV shows, zombie-ism has a biological cause. In 28 Days Later, the infection is caused by the "Rage" virus, which escaped from a lab when animal rights activists break in and release a group of infected chimpanzees. Of course,…

I linked that very article at the end of the Slate story. Generally I agree with that position,but it presupposes that they decay as normal people do. Some zombie stories (such as "Zombie autopsies") have come up with some creative ways to keep the zombies more "alive" for a longer period of time. Plus, as I mention, there's also the possible risk to animals from a zombie pathogen that could jump species.

First is physics, before biology, From whence the energy to animate? Can't defy thermodynamics.
Second, the zombies themselves are a problem for the Army Corps. of Engineers. The REAL threat in the zombie apocalypse is other humans. Iterated prisoners' dilemma: We cooperate to survive, share resources, until that is, someone cheats...

By Robert Arvanitis (not verified) on 02 Nov 2013 #permalink