In 2005, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set up a network of training institutes across the country designed to strengthen the nation’s readiness for catastrophic public health disasters. On condition on anonymity, ZRS recently spoke with the Director of one such facility to discuss several zombie doomsday scenarios.

According to the Director, measuring the impact of infectious disease comes down to four factors: Susceptibility, Exposure, Infection and Recovery (or Death). Known as the SEIR Model, when applied to a zombie outbreak, these variables give a more clear picture of how the undead could infect the entire planet. But it wouldn’t be as easy as you might think.

“Even assuming the entire world is susceptible, if zombieism is only spread through a bite or some other close bodily contact, then you have an obvious exposure problem. And despite what movies like 28 Days Later suggest, the faster the infection spreads the less likely it is to impact a large population.”

The fact is that a lightning quick virus is not only scientifically unrealistic, but it would draw too much attention in the early stages to ever represent a serious global threat. Instead, a zombie virus would likely need to have a long latency period, allowing it to infect a wide range of people across the planet before any symptoms appeared.

Unless it was able to take root in this manner, our expert says it would be considerably less concerning from a public health standpoint than existing airborne dangers like the Swine Flu.


  1. all lies such a thing can neva happen

  2. we need steel armor in all body parts

  3. As we can read in another blog section, we must remember that all diseases, viruses, etc. have an incubation period, when it is first introduced into the victim’s system but the victim is asymptomatic. I think the effectiveness of a fast or slow spread would greatly depend on the number of the initial infected, because for AT LEAST a few days, they probably won’t show any signs of it. Suppose a lot of people are infected from the onset, but don’t show any symptoms for about a week, or even a month. Even when signs of illness become apparent, if they aren’t too severe- or if they are, but progress too rapidly to be readily responded to- by the time the military or CDC decide, “Hey, this is serious, quarantine,” it might be too late. Lot of x factors here. Initial infection, incubation period, severity and progression of symptoms- who knows?

  4. “The slow blade cuts the deepest…” or something similar applies here. Yes, a fast spread looks scarier, but that’s the problem. When you have just one or two a month and it slowly ramps up, it looks like it’s just a bunch of crazies and people tend to ignore it as drugs. If it were to launch off it would be dealt with by, well, us probably, extremely quickly and it wouldn’t get anywhere. Think of it like a tsunami (or whatever the name is), a small impact far off will build, given the time needed, into something far larger than a big impact right off the coast. It will come totally unawares and there is little anyone could do to prepare for it.

  5. I beg to differ. A faster plague may alert the governments of the world earlier, but would be way harder to contain. Although this gives a new outlook to the “what it” scenarios, take my opinion into consideration. Isolating the virus would be difficult either way, but it would be even harder, and more hostile in a quicker form. We can’t predict how this would happen. But I’m pretty certain it will.

  6. But a slow spread also means it can be discovered and possibly cured while it is still spreading in the victim. A long spread means someone is bound to get a blood test from a hospital which then discovers this new…disease.
    When the disease is discovered, the infected will probably be quarantined, requiring blood tests on everyone and then the disease SHOULD eventually become effectively contained.
    Of course if the disease takes about a month to spread, then the zombies might just start an outbreak while CDC is trying to contain it..
    I agree, slower spread is much more likely to cause an apocalypse…

    • Lets not forget blood tests usually only produce results for something actively tested for, this was a massive problem at the start of the HIV epidemic. Say, not here in Australia but somewhere like America where you get paid for blood donations, a slow burn would be more effective. Before the first case was investigated enough for a blood test to come up with a unknown ailment, the virus could have already entered society at multiple points, been passed on through the sharing of bodily fluids. Depending on various factors – sexual activity, needle sharing, secondary infection which could help the spread of the virus through, i dunno, airborne particles of snot and spit….. A fast infection rate would burn itself out quicker, not only because we could respond much quicker military wise, but we would have more chance to isolate ourselves.

  7. I know the director of said program wanted anonymity, but if you could ask him or her this question: Would a period of time, such as 207 days, be a sufficient amount of time for a “zombie virus” to spread? Iask the specific number because that is exactly how many days stand between Rudy Eugene’s attack on Ronald Poppo and the Mayan date of 12/21/12. If you could please ask him or her that so the public might be able to stop a possible apocalypse from happening, I would greatly appreciate it.

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