If a person infected with zombie pathogens shows no sign of illness for an extended period of time then the issue becomes: What are the rights of the infected? What liberties should be granted to people who have contracted the zombie illness, but are not yet dead or dying?
If society does not collapse under the weight of a zombie pandemic, then the problem of what to do with thousands – or even millions – of friendly, everyday folk who just happen to have contracted a slow-acting, contagious disease that will eventually turn them into undead beasts may well become very real and very persistent.
Do we shoot them on sight? Do we lock them up and throw away the key? What if they can live regular lives, with no sign of illness for years? What if they can’t even pass on the contagion until in the very latest stage of their own progression?
Once a reliable test is developed for zombiism, it could be that a network of isolated communities, closely modeled after leper colonies, might quickly spring up across the planet. Infected would then have no contact with the outside world, and be far enough away from civilization to eliminate any chance of transmission.
For example, a routine annual physical gives John Q some bad news regarding a tick bite he suffered on a recent camping trip. Suddenly he’s separated from his family and friends, as he’s stuffed onto a bus with a handful of strangers heading to Northern Canada to live on hard cots and government rations. Is this a fair way to deal with John?
What if it happens to you?