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Zombie Apocalypse A Possibility?

Rise in Zombie-Like Infection Should Trigger An International Call of Action, An Expert Reveals

By Stacey Leigh Gonzalez

Can a zombie apocalypse really occur? Tara Smith, an associate professor from Ohio's Kent State University is issuing an international call to action to fund and promote studies on how to prevent a possible zombie outbreak.

"Zombie expert Matt Mogk defines a zombie with three criteria: it is a reanimated human corpse; it is relentlessly aggressive, and it is biologically infected and infectious. But Mogk notes that this definition has been altered by the recognition of 'rage' zombies, which are infected but still alive," Smith wrote on a recently published BMJ study.

Smith cited several scientific studies, news reports and fictional works to back up her research. As listed on Discovery News, the author specified three possible pathogens that could cause an outbreak: the Black Plague bacteria Y. pestis, mad cow disease, as well as the Cordyceps fungus.

Out of the three pathogens, Cordyceps fungus is the most common, with 400 known species. According to the publication, the parasitic fungus invades the body of its host and takes over, using the body as a means to make the fungus spores spread.

In a report by EurekAlert, Smith believes that the increase of similar zombie pathogens should be a sign that additional attention and funding should be provided into studying possible disease outbreaks.

Although the scope of the study appears to sound more like a scene from a movie or television series, researchers from Cornell University believe that the data can prove useful in the event that an outbreak occurs. The Discovery publication says that the researchers went as far as conducting a simulation to show how the zombies would move and spread throughout the United States.

Based on the simulation, it appears the northern Rockies is one of the safest spots to stay in the event a zombie apocalypse does occur.

For Smith, correlating the study to zombies is one way to grab attention.

"We give talks around the country about scientific issues -- tied into zombies. It's a way to bring attention to these subjects that otherwise might not seem interesting. In my case, it's infectious disease," Smith told The Washington Post reporters.

Smith states that the recent Ebola outbreak shows how incredibly unprepared governments are in handling an epidemic of such a grand scale. With the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains, perhaps it is about time to consider seeing zombies in a whole new different light.

What would you do if a zombie outbreak occurs? Where would you hide?


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