Could a zombie apocalypse overtake the world like it has on the The Walking Dead?
For almost five full seasons we have been embroiled in the middle of a zombie apocalypse on "The Walking Dead." While zombies have been the subject of many, many movies, books, and now even television shows, all along we’ve all thought they were totally a work of fiction. The question, though, is could something like this really happen?
Rabies: Rabies is a virus that has been known to cause infected victims to exhibit violent behavior as they go mad. The madness may not exactly induce cannibalism, but rabies can induce some very odd behaviors that are unpredictable and could be dangerous to others. It is actually a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and will eventually lead to paralysis and death.
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD): While you may know variant Crutzfeldt-Jakob Disease by its more common name — Mad Cow Disease — you may know almost nothing about it. It is contracted when someone eats tainted meat that has been contaminated by bovine spongiform encelphalopathy (BSE). BSE turns your normal, everyday quiet cow into a mad cow in every sense of the word — and not just angry, but crazy too.
This particularly nasty illness, vCJD, causes symptoms that brings to mind your favorite zombie movies like “Night of the Living Dead” or “28 Days Later.” Symptoms include personality changes, anxiety, memory loss, depression, impaired thinking, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, insomnia, difficulty swallowing, and sudden jerky movements. The mental state of victims suffering from this Hellish sickness go from bad to worse and the victim will eventually fall into a coma then die of respiratory or heart failure, pneumonia or some other infection.
It is the mental deterioration associated with vCJD that has been compared to a rage type of virus like we’ve seen in “28 Days Later” or even “World War Z.”
Drugs: Who doesn’t remember that horrific news story about the guy who had his face eaten off by some crazed man who had supposedly used synthetic marijuana? There have been plenty of incidents of people taking drugs and having severely dangerous reactions, as in they go nutso and try to eat their friends or neighbors.
Simply Fiction: While zombie stories are primarily fiction, knowing that there are diseases and drugs out there that can cause severe mental impairment and behavioral changes that are downright terrifying is enough to make you wonder.
Could a zombie apocalypse happen? It is easy to believe that first, society can have a breakdown and collapse due to financial and governmental failures. We know that in “The Walking Dead,” basic infrastructure has collapsed: Governments are gone, public utilities and financial units are gone. In short, everyone is on their own. In the event of a major natural disaster, it isn’t difficult to believe society could fall apart.
Could zombies overtake the land? That’s a little more far-fetched, but with the increase in illicit drugs and diseases, it may not be as crazy as it sounds.