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Medicine Idle

CDC Warns of Zombie Apocalypse 300

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.
scotbuff writes "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have written an article about preparing for a zombie apocalypse on their blog. The CDC knows that a zombie apocalypse is no joke. 'If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated.'"
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CDC Warns of Zombie Apocalypse

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  • by xMrFishx (1956084) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:21PM (#36183222)

    ... patient management and [...] infection control

    So, that's the bit with the guns and the fire, right?

    • Re:Damage Control (Score:5, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:48PM (#36183608)
      A while ago, I remember seeing an article that explained why a zombie apocalypse would never happen. The point that probably made the most sense is this: America has plenty of people with guns, and hunters in America are so effective that we need to pass laws to prevent them from killing off all the wildlife in the country. Zombies would not survive more than a few weeks against the kind of firepower that our hunters possess.
      • by gnick (1211984)

        Good point, but what if the apocalypse isn't in the US? Or (more frightening), what if the zombies are still sophisticated enough to use guns and decide that's the most direct route to delicious BRRRAAAIIIIIINNNS?

        • Still a number of other issues with zombies, first off if the actual host bodies are indeed rotting etc as they are usually depicted then that would be an issue, also if zombies used guns then they would render the victims unable to become zombies themselves. In which case then it would be the equivalent of a normal gang of people to take down. 100 or less people would not rival a nation.
          • by gnick (1211984)

            Only if the zombification effect was spread only through direct physical contact. If the zombies are initially zombified by some avian flu-type-virus or an especially nasty water infection, we could easily see the vast majority of the population competing for a taste of the non-infected brains. In a situation this serious, you really have to account for all possible scenarios.

        • Good point, but what if the apocalypse isn't in the US?

          Where else then? Canada? Canadians are avid hunters too, and they have lots of guns in their rural areas. Mexico, South America? Do you think drug lords would have a problem killing zombies, or that the governments fighting those drug lords would not be up to the task?

          Maybe the Europeans would have some problems, but even they have military forces that could probably take on the Zombies. In the worst case, they could call on their allies (like the USA) to send in some troops. I bet the US army wo

          • by gnick (1211984)

            In the worst case, they could call on their allies (like the USA) to send in some troops. I bet the US army would make short work of zombies, considering that the rules of engagement are (according to Zombie movies) effectively nil.

            More likely, I think that if you phoned up most countries and said that there was a terrible disease that had wiped out most of the population and was continuing to spread, they'd be more likely to take a scorched earth approach rather than send people in that they need to bring back. At least that's what my plan would be after the coup when I'm dictator.

          • Re:Damage Control (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Tom (822) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @04:44PM (#36184346) Homepage Journal

            Where else then? Canada?

            You must be from the US, nobody else on the planet thinks that simple-minded.

            There are large stretches of Africa that are so busy with civil war and other issues that it would be days before an outbreak is even noticed, and something like two or three weeks before it's internationally reported. With zombie numbers growing exponentially, by the time some kind of outside military arrives, you'd already have a local Resident Evil scenario.

            There are areas in Asia that are remote and close to inaccessible. Afghanistan mountains, jungles in Cambodia, northern India, western China, stuff like that. Similar scenario here, with the zombies potentially being able to overrun initial troop deployments because you simply can't airlift them in quickly enough.

            And in both these continents, there are massive cities not far from mountains or jungles.

            • There are large stretches of Africa that are so busy with civil war and other issues that it would be days before an outbreak is even noticed, and something like two or three weeks before it's internationally reported... There are areas in Asia that are remote and close to inaccessible. Afghanistan mountains, jungles in Cambodia, northern India, western China, stuff like that. Similar scenario here, with the zombies potentially being able to overrun initial troop deployments because you simply can't airlift them in quickly enough.

              My zombie thought experiments have always brought me to the opposite conclusion. Considering how remote and sparsely populated many of those regions are, I would think they should be in a good position to survive a zombie outbreak. If a region is as inaccessible as you describe, they shouldn't receive more than a slow trickle of the shambling undead.

              Especially Africa, considering the only thing they have more of than guns is a burning desire to kill outsiders, I think would handle such an outbreak really

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Canada has even more guns than we do, and Mexico, well, let's just say that folks have a hard time keeping their heads down there. So, really, North America is safe, so long as zombies can't figure out how to fly airplanes or operate ships.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uh, I know the article you speak of and it was idiotic. BTW, we have 1000s of deer and various other animals starve to death every year in several states and a large amount of predator repopulation. Less than 5% of the nation hunt and it is becoming a serious problem for the animals getting diseased and our safety (as coyotes like the taste of cats, etc).. Half-dead sick animals are the zombies we need to worry about.

      • Re:Damage Control (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DavidTC (10147) < ... > <neverbox.com>> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @04:19PM (#36184004) Homepage

        Zombie apocalypses don't make much sense at all, unless zombieism (zombiism?) has a very long incubation period.

        Why? Because zombies are horribly bad carriers of disease.

        Think about what would actually happen. Let's assume some sort of worse case scenario, where zombies managed to overrun a small town or something. Let's say 100 people somehow get infected before people notice, which incidentally is incredibly high. Zombies are not subtle, and surely one of them would attack someone in sight of another person who could flee.

        The word will get out, and at that point it's trivial to stop them from spreading, because zombies are very easy to identify. We'd put up quarantines, and only let the non-undead through.

        Yes, some zombies would slip through, and, yes, they'd infect others, but once anyone actually knew what was happening, it would be common to start greeting people in the distance, 'I'm not a zombie!' 'Me neither!' 'Okay then, come over!'. I can even imagine people come up with some complicated hand waving that zombies don't do, depending on the rules. (Some have a rule that zombies remember stuff they did a lot in life, like open doors, so hand-waving may not work.)

        But seriously, think about it. Zombieism is a great metaphor for a very contagious disease. But it's a rather sucky actual disease within the rules laid out for it. Actual diseases spread because people do not know they are infected, and neither do other people, and go about their business.

        Zombies are obviously infected, and, what's more, don't drive from town to town or visit places by air or anything. Set up a fence already.

        This is why all zombie fiction either starts with the zombies inexplicably already deeply entrenched, or is limited to a small area and over a small span of time, in a place where people are somehow greatly outnumbered by zombies, or have a cause of zombieism that effects a lot of people at once.

        This is because it's nearly impossible to explain the actual spread of them across a large area in any reasonable way. I don't even mean 'the spread unchecked by man', although that would hinder them...but zombies are pretty shitty carriers of disease even when no one's against them.

        Humans have cars, and will quickly leave zombie infested areas, while the zombies go after them. (Even 'fast zombies' can't beat a car.)

        The only way a zombie apocalypse plausibly works is if something beside humans also carries it. Like birds or something.

        • Re:Damage Control (Score:4, Informative)

          by Unkyjar (1148699) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:46PM (#36186356)

          Just wanted to point out that Night of the Living Dead didn't need any carriers of disease. Any and every dead corpse on the planet started rising.

          • One suggestion to the same effect in "zombie apocalypse" themed books by Andrey Kruz is that the virus itself does not make people zombies. They need to get infected and then die (or rather be hurt to the point where brain is still intact, but organism cannot support it), at which point the virus takes over the dead body. Thus, in his scenario, the virus spreads unnoticed for a few days first, and then dead start rising and attacking, causing panic and more deaths - by which time it's already too late to c

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @04:27PM (#36184122)
        Plus every zombie movie I've ever seen (except Shaun of the Dead) the living were fucked over by one fact: they didn't seem to know what zombies were.

        "Oh Jimmy! I thought you were dead! You got hurt though and kind of have an odd vacant expression, let me give you A BIG HUG... OW! Why are you biting me, drooling, and grunting?!? No! Stop! Jimmy, I don't understand! Are you hungry? Oh good, a big crowd of people just showed up to help me.... OH GOD WHY ARE THEY BITING ME TOO?!?! THIS MAKES NO SENSE!!!"

        Maybe some people who are so sheltered they've never seen a zombie movie would make that rookie mistake, but the rest of us will be all

        "I'm sorry grandma... well sorry you're dead anyway, but no use crying over spilled milk and I've ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THIS WITH A CHAINSAW!!!"
        • by Tom (822)

          Maybe some people who are so sheltered they've never seen a zombie movie would make that rookie mistake, but the rest of us will be all

          Assuming, of course, that zombies would actually look and/or act like in the movies. Now, how close to real life are movies in anything that's not day-to-day stuff? Say, computer operating systems, capabilities of military weapons, advanced science, codebreaking, ancient history - you name it.

          A real-life zombie apocalypse would very likely look nothing like the movies.

        • If you like zombie movies, you need to check out Fido [imdb.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That strongly depends on the parameters of the zombie outbreak. Check this [uottawa.ca] for a full mathematical treatise of zombie epidemiology. Under certain boundary conditions, no hunting skill will save you. Besides, as someone else already stated, hunting does not particularly give you the close quarter skills you gonna need...
      • by Macrat (638047)

        Zombies would not survive more than a few weeks against the kind of firepower that our hunters possess.

        There's also the fact that most hunters are just waiting for any excuse to shoot their neighbors anyway.

  • When I understand various Hollywood products correctly this would only affect the US and maybe Transylvania.
    • by gnick (1211984)

      According to 28 Days Later, Doghouse, and others, I think the UK may be in trouble too. Transylvania has other issues to deal with.

      • Don't forget Nightwatch/Daywatch (Russia?) and Dead Snow (Sweden or Norway) ;)

        • by gnick (1211984)

          Nightwatch/Daywatch are wonderful, but I don't know if I'd qualify them as zombie movies. There were some vampire type characters and various super-hero/villain characters, but not hordes of flesh-eating mindless killing machines - So based on the limited data I have right now I think the Russians are OK. You're right though - Norway not only has to deal with zombies, but Nazi zombies!

    • Resident Evil films clearly show zombies infection being world wide.

  • If there's a zombie near me, I don't care what caused it. I don't care to find the source of the infection, or develop a cure. I just want it dead. Again.

    Prioritize your work, CDC. Start with cancer and stuff.

    • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:30PM (#36183362)
      Disaster planning pretty much always starts with 'a disaster has occurred, what do we do'. However people are very delicate things and would have their feelings hurt if you suggested a real disaster could happen and so to lighten things up a made up disaster is substituted.

      Basically this is the CDC's plan for dealing with a disastrous disease outbreak.
    • by mikael_j (106439)

      According to the CDC blog you and all of your family members should gather outside your home. Yup, that's how they want you to stay safe when the zombies come for our sweet juicy brains, stand around outdoors waiting for your family to show up.

      I think we can assume that the CDC is not the best source of zombie survival information.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:34PM (#36187236)

      Prioritize your work, CDC. Start with cancer and stuff.

      What the CDC is trying to do here, is show Americans how to react in an emergency situation. The Zombie invasion is just there to pique the readers interest.

      A lot of the stuff is not Zombie or even disease specific such as a water requirement. I grew up in the cyclone zone of Australia, a lot of what I read I already knew,
      - stock up on fresh water (fill the bath, every available container)
      - same with tinned food and other non perishables
      - fill up gerry cans
      - have a short wave radio (two way if you've got one) and enough spare batteries
      - know where the evac points are (set by the authorities)
      - Plan a regroup point inside and outside the house with your families.

      A lot of it is common sense which just doesn't get followed. That's what the CDC want to get through to people, in case another natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina happened again because in a disaster zone you may be out of reach of help for several days.

  • What do you mean, the best treatment? It better be a discussion of what best severs the spinal cord from a distance or I'll be losing faith in the CDC's ability to handle a zombie apocalypse!

  • Where's the baseball head-splat, and chainsaw training programs for citizens assist in the control of the spread of the disease? Ammo depots? Location to get two-for-one specials for Colt 45's? Bait tactics? how about shot-gun modifications? You know, where to saw off the butt and barrel? And of course, Axe control - how to swing an axe at the head to ensure accuracy? You know, maybe if they created one of those diagram cards like we see on airplanes...that would be good.
  • Isn't this zombie-mania past its prime yet? It was funny for a while, but now it's just overplayed.
  • Monster Talk had the author of the Zombie Autopsies on for a fun chat about zombies. Monster Talk (podcast) is a skeptic's look at the science of cryptids and popular monsters. Their position is they love the monsters and the stories even if they don't believe in them and use the premise as a means of going into the science. Talk of the Loch Ness monster leads to plesiosaurs, their evolutionary history, and all the reasons there couldn't possibly be a breeding population surviving in the lake.

    I didn't know

  • A tweet is one thing. An entire blog seems a bit over-the-top for dicking-off. Especially in these times.

    • by bmo (77928) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:34PM (#36183428)

      You obviously didn't read the article.

      It has some sensible disaster preparedness stuff in it. Just because it references popular culture doesn't mean it's a waste of money.

      Government documents are boring enough as they are.

      --
      BMO

    • by Swanktastic (109747) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:34PM (#36183432)

      Personally, I think it's brilliant. Someone out there was assigned the job of getting as many people as possible to read some really boring emergency preparedness webpage, and they succeeded a million times over. It's on the front page of the WSJ.

    • by LordStormes (1749242) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @03:37PM (#36183466) Homepage Journal

      The reason for this should be clear - has ANYONE here read a disaster preparedness article in the last 3-4 years? Probably not. This got the post on the front page of Google News, /., CNN, and countless other news sites. The page was "Slashdotted" all afternoon. How many people got educated about what to do in a disaster because they thought, "Oh, zombies, lulz!" I know I did. This stunt got them more exposure than $25 million in advertising could. I'd MUCH prefer that our government do cheap and more effective things whenever possible (especially when I get a laugh as a bonus), as opposed to tossing money everywhere for no effect.

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        How many people got educated about what to do in a disaster because they thought, "Oh, zombies, lulz!"

        That's ironic, because I honestly *didn't* read the article for the same reason- I thought it was just yet another entry on the pretend-serious joke "zombie apocalypse" bandwagon, which is starting to become overdone to the point of cliche.

    • by skids (119237)

      Hey what's your TMI score?

      Seriously, for reasons adequately described by the other replies to your post, seek treatment.

  • While the CDC doesn't think that there'll actually be a zombie apocalypse, they do recognize that some really bad scenerios involving contagious disease could happen, and the effect on society could come to resemble that of a zombie apocalypse.

    Instead of biting you to infect you, someone coughs on you instead, either way you end up dead.

    And the CDC is arguably more important than the US Military, and neglected. Which is REALLY a bigger threat to us, the military power of any foreign adversary, or a highly contagious disease that knows no borders?

    At this point I'd like to remind everyone that 44,000 of us die every year from antibiotic resistant germs. Exactly how many of us died in 9/11? 3000? And yet we spend trillions on our military, and... HOW MUCH, on new antibiotic development???

    --PeterM

    • Instead of biting you to infect you, someone coughs on you instead, either way you end up dead.

      No, if you get bit by a zombie you'll end up un dead

    • by swb (14022)

      It's not hard to imagine an infectious disease scenario which really does resemble a zombie outbreak, up to and including biting as a means of infection -- imagine a rabies mutation, for example, which has an incubation period of a week but allows for the host to stay alive for 3-4 weeks. Presumably (like in 28 Days Later) they'd mostly die of starvation or dehydration, presuming that the symptoms of infection prevented most rational survival behavior like drinking and eating.

      I'd generally worry more about

  • When Jesus Christ returns this Saturday, the world's only confirmed zombie will be un-undead, solving the only known source of the problem.

    So the CDC is a little late with its contribution, here.

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      So what you're saying is that we need to decapitate him? or at least destroy his brain?

      • by blair1q (305137)

        No, we just need to wait until Sunday, then stand outside any church and ask the people going inside if it matters if they do that any more.

        • No, we just need to wait until Sunday, then stand outside any church and ask the people going inside if it matters if they do that any more.

          Any church?
          I don't identify myself as a Christian, but you do realize the 175,000 or so whackos who believe this represent just a tiny minority of christians, right? Most are scoffing at this as much as any other religious (or non-religious) group.

      • Would only be fair. How many brains were destroyed in his name?

  • If "patient 0" was was the result of DoD, DoE, CIA, or corporate experiments, they'd probably cover that up and blame it on "terrorists", 'specially if they could cover up human experimentation in some minor country, like, say, Costa Rica.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      If Patient Zero was the result of DoD or CIA experiments they'd shoot Patient Zero in the head and incinerate Patient Zero.

  • Well, I guess you've got to be prepared when the big Judgement Day is on Saturday: http://www.ebiblefellowship.com/ [ebiblefellowship.com] Remember only 2 days to the end of the world - so if you're a Christian, then send me your money - money after all is the root of all evil. Therefore by sending me cash or a wire transfer you'll be absolved of your sins on Saturday!
  • After RTFA, it seems not so much that they prepare and believe zombies to be a threat, but more like page on that you should prepare for emergencies. And, maybe a bit lame, they choose a popular theme to explain how you should prepare as well as what the CDC is for.

    Ok, that was reality, let's get back at poking fun at CDC

  • I'm sure I saw this on a TV show not long ago ... and by the time the good guys got to the CDC, they realized that had been wiped out too. Can't remember the name of the show at the moment.

    Now, my next question ... is WTF is the CDC doing talking about the zombie apocalypse? Or is this just a cleverly disguised way of giving real emergency preparedness instructions and using social networking?

    That's just plain bizarre. Possibly quite clever, but definitely bizarre.

    • by Niris (1443675)
      Show was Walking Dead on AMC. They referenced it briefly in the article. Also an absolutely amazing comic if you're into the zombie thing.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Show was Walking Dead on AMC. They referenced it briefly in the article.

        That's the one ... it was really well done. Though, it seemed like they played a marathon of season 1, and then just stopped. I was looking forward to more of it ... oh well, at least they're making a Zombieland sequel. :-P

        I think it's hilarious that that they've got someone with the savvy to disguise a real emergency preparedness message in a "zombie apocalypse" thing ... too funny!

    • by hellkyng (1920978)

      The TV show was most likely AMC's The Walking Dead. They make it to the CDC right before it automatically self destructs to prevent the spread of the various other diseases they are keeping in storage: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/05/18/1539244/US-Preserves-Smallpox-For-Defense [slashdot.org]

  • May is Zombie Awareness Month. [zombieresearch.org]
    ( Well, actually, there are many unofficial dates set, so I observer all of them! )

    Zombie Awareness Day [blogspot.com] is a great time to check your friends and family for bite marks and other tell tale "infected" behavior, and to review & revise your Zombie Plan (Think Fire Escape Plan -- Except that you're prepared to keep running for months after you safely exit the premises).

    Which brings me to my next point: It's time to make sure you have your Zombie Preparedness Kit in order -

    • Infected behaviour? You ARE aware that most of my friends are geeks, right? If I had to shoot them if they behaved apathetic, have pale skin, communicate in grunts or have questionable odor, I wouldn't have friends anymore!

  • I've read the ZSG twice and I think I'm pretty well prepared. With the FA the bureaucrats over at CDC just want to cover their asses, there is little useful advise in the FA, no discussion of stockpiling weapons and ammo, nothing about preparing a retreat. In reality when ZA happens all kinds of government will be the first to go. Better get yourself a copy of the ZSG and read it cover to cover, including "Living in the undead world" chapter.
  • I am disappointed that the list of items to keep in your emergency kit doesn't include a shotgun and a box of 12 ga. zombie repellent. Clearly they are not taking this seriously.

    • by Thud457 (234763)
      I've got a rock that keeps zombies away, if you're interested. I assure you, the price is right.
  • First article i've actually read fully before posting...

    Under emergency kit I was expecting to find at least a shotgun listed.

  • Because I really don't see the point to this.
  • FTFA:

    my personal favorite is Resident EvilExternal Web Site Icon

    Huh, I guess that must be the name of the next RE movie. Sounds interesting though. I wonder if they're going to have a Slashdot zombie. Maybe it will shun the outside, and refuse to leave its mother's basement, and still cry for brains.

  • What do they know that we don't...?

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @04:12PM (#36183928)
    I see it coming any minute -- some lawyer is going to say Zombies are a protected class and the government is showing prejudice. A lot of undead are going to get rich off this, if they file to be part of the claimant pool (a.k.a. undead pool). Of course, Zombies are notorious slackers when it comes to paperwork. So, lawyers will get most of the award yet again.
  • "...and how patients can best be treated."

    Romero gives the best advice, of course:
        I keep telling my men to shoot those things in the head. Head... dead. Anyplace else, those things just twitch.

  • It's not completely implausible that something like the Zombie apocolpyse could occur. Rabbies, Syphillius, Toxoplasma Gondii are examples of pathogens known to affect behaviour. If one of these or something similar became much more easily tranmissable and had a rapid and dramatic effect on behaviour you'd have yourself your Zombie apocolypse. Walking undead is of course bollocks.

    CDC have actually probably seriously considered this scenario.
  • Double Tap. That's most of what you need to know.

    It helps to already have the cardio. (knowing that rule doesn't help so much unless you knew for a while and prepared.)

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word. -- Robert Heinlein

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