Reader Tim S. wanted to know what would happen if there were an airborne zombie virus.  The short answer is that it would likely spell the end of the world as we know it.

Zombie VirusMuch like the seasonal flu, an airborne zombie sickness could spread across the globe in a matter of weeks.  And because it stands to reason that almost no one would be immune (immunity comes from prior exposure of the same or similar agents, or genetic predisposition), the entire planet would quickly be in various states of contraction, sickness, death or reanimation.

A single sneeze could create dozens more zombies-to-be.  Hundreds of thousands of seemingly healthy people would be unknowingly doomed by their inadvertent exposure.  Similar to other alternative zombie transmission theories (see: Do Mosquitoes Spread Zombie Plague?), the implications on the human race of an airborne zombie virus are devastating.

National Public Radio offers and great animated video on the workings of the influenza virus on the human body.  It explains that a single infected molecule can quickly multiply to more than one million, only to repeat the process again and again.  If our immune systems were not able to put up a defense, a zombie virus would conquer our internal systems in no time flat.

So lets just hope that when the zombie pandemic does hit, it’s spreads by a good old fashioned bite.  It may be our only chance.

To watch the NPR short video click HERE.


  1. Thank you very helpful and informative. My best girlfriend of thirty years died on July first. She complained of weakness and shortness of breath for at least three weeks prior to her death. She was 88 Years Old and extremely active going on walks with me and her 93 Year Old Sister daily.She told me her Doctor had told I’m her that there’s no medicine to prescribe. Each day she complained of weakness. I telephoned my Doctor and he immediately prescribed a 21 day dose of Prednisone,starting with 4times per day, Advair Discus Inhalator twice daily. Oh such a horrific disease.I miss my 30 year friend so much.I must end this story.Thanks for available data.Oh I’m 77 Years Old and cared for by a very efficient and competent medical team THE HEART CENTER OF THE ORANGES located in West Orange, New Jersey.

  2. One thing to consider is the issue of G.E.L.F. (Genetically Engineered Life Form) a term used to refer to any plant or animal that has been genetically altered from a present species to create a significant identifiable new species or sub-species. A.G.A.L.F. (Accidentally Genetically Altered Life Form) is used to refer to any plant or animal significantly different from its parent species as to be clearly a new species or sub-species, but occurring unintentionally through exposure to environmental contamination of some sort. As we move into an era where genetic manipulation can be carried out in a private home with the right equipment it is far more dangerous then nuclear weapons ever thought of being. As I have stated before a chemical warfare agent similar to BZ gas could cause a zombie like condition and the agent could remain active in the air for up to 3-4 weeks. Genetically enhanced animals and plants could lead to accidents and once released into the biosphere can never be completely eliminated from it. Could you create an mammal, the size of a large bat, with bat wings, monkey hind legs and prehensile tail, more powerful jaws, and give it characteristics from a platypus, that of laying eggs and a spur for injecting a DLP toxin on the end of the tail. Now match that with the personality of a wolverine that gather and hunt in groups of 20 to 200. A virus or bacteria inadvertently created when a life form is created in this way could have far ranging unforeseen consequences, like Zombies.

  3. Katrina Russell

    It’s a matter of how the virus works. Example would be the “Fido” film. Where it was a meteor that turned the dead into the living dead. Or it could be the virus suggested in “The Zombie Survival Guide; Complete Protection from the living dead” by Max Brooks. The virus mentioned was “Solanum”, It was an airborne virus that sets itself in the brain and while it’s mimicking the brain cell functions, Its killing the original. Eventually all the original are dead, then the host is dead. Moments later the virus starts working the mimicked cells, and the body is reanimated.

    But if you want to get all technical and realistic…Have fun.

  4. Just to make this completely geeky (sorry, I’m a theoretical ecologist and can’t help myself):

    The standard model (meaning the simplest one people will admit resembles reality at all) for the spread of a contagious disease is called the SIR model, where agents go from being Susceptible, to Infected, to Resistant (or dead). The math behind this is simple, since for usual diseases, this is a one-way street. The population size N = S+I+R, and you assume that the population size doesn’t chage dS/dt+dI/dt+dR/dt=dN/dt=0.

    You then assume that the rate at which people become infected depends on both the number of infected individuals (who are presumed contagion), so dS/dt=-B*I*S, where B is the “infectivity constant” (how easily a disease is transmissible). The change in the number of Infecteds (=zombies) is dI/dt=B*I*S (from above) – v*I, where v is the recovery-or-kill rate. In the real world, Swine flu has an extremely high B but a low v, while bird flu has a low B but a high v. And finally, dR/dt=v*I.

    There is a point to all this. The point is that for a zombie flu, v=0. Nobody recovers, and nobody becomes dead, rather they become undead. This totally messes with the differential equations, because it means dR/dt=0, therefore there can be no recovery, and the plague will never end! And if even calculus tells you there is no hope, then it must be so.

    • So this equation account for the people who are naturally resistant to the virus and won’t turn because of it? Eventually, if these people who are immune stay alive long enough to procreate, they’ll presumably pass on their immunity to their offspring. And we will have evolved to the point where the virus has no effect, or very little effect.

      This is assuming the uninfected can stay away from the zombies and human hostiles long enough.

  5. Actually, immunity can be attained another way. A prior mutation in a person’s genetic sequence might be able to keep them immune to such a thing. There is natural immunity(mutation) and learned immunity(being exposed to it and overcoming it).

    I think it is not without reason to say that there would be a small percentage of humans with such a mutation in their code to allow them to survive the virus itself. Whether they survive the zombies is another matter.

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