We’ve already discussed the possibility that endospores could be at the root of a coming zombie sickness (see: Zombie Endospores from Hell), but public health expert, Scott Salinger, suggests that prions, not endospores, will likely be the source of any future undead plague.
Salinger explains that a prion is an infectious agent composed primarily of protein. It has been implicated in a number of diseases in mammals, including Mad Cow in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Furthermore, all known prion diseases affect the structure of the brain, and all are untreatable and 100% fatal.
“The amazing thing is that prions don’t multiply like a bacterial or viral infection. Rather, the prion proteins actually change the structure of the existing proteins in your body. Which means – given the right set of circumstances – you could literally become a biologically different creature from the inside out. No longer human, but something different entirely.”
Even more disturbing is the fact that Mad Cow disease has an incubation period of four years, and the offending prions can survive exposure to extreme heat. Because the disease is transmitted to humans beings who eat tainted meat products, it is widely believed that more fatal cases will continue to be reported worldwide as time goes on.
When this information is applied to our theoretical zombie prion, we see a disease that could spread across the planet years before the first case of a corpse rising is ever encountered. By the time the first zombie stood up and started moaning, it would be too late for us all…