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.