Could a Zombie Outbreak Actually Happen?

YoYo Sine, Staff Writer

The zombie apocalypse has been a common theme among the media, one of the more popular examples of this is the series The Walking Dead. A lot of scares have come out of this zombie outbreak, the government even has a plan in the event of a true zombie apocalypse, titled CONOP-8888, also known as Counter-Zombie Dominance where the disclaimer states outright, “This plan was not actually designed as a joke.” This plan details the course of action with any type of zombie encounter, even “Chicken Zombies”.

 “Although it sounds ridiculous, this is actually the only proven class of zombie that actually exists.” In fact, zombie chickens do exist, it’s when a Chicken put in a slaughter house is killed but not killed properly, according to an article written by Jesse Tyler. “The process of suffocation involves stuffing the hen into a sealed box and then filling the box with carbon monoxide until the hen passes out and then eventually dies.” From there, the farmers toss the dead hens into a pile of sawdust to make compost. In some cases of making the compost, a chicken will survive the gassing method and stumble out of the compost pile, thus a ‘zombie chicken’ is born. However, with this in mind, it has to be asked, how likely is it that a zombie outbreak will actually happen?

The Last of Us is a video game and a TV series on HBO Max, this show is based around the “Cordyceps Brain Infection” , which turns humans into zombies. However this is a real fungus, and it has only affected ants, but scarily enough, it can wipe out entire colonies. The way this Cordyceps Fungus works is that it will either spread through the air through spores, or an ant will step on one of the spores, after it infects the ant it will start to behave strangely, however, it’ll still hunt for food. The fungus will start to infect the brain, making it look for a resting spot, spots that are just the right temperatures for the fungus to sprout before biting down on the ground, locking the ant’s jaw where it’ll then die and sprout the fungus to do it all again. 

Photo via Pixabay under Pixabay License

Another species of fungus that can do this is the Engyodontium Aranearum, which only affects cellar spiders. Basically, the fungus will take the shape of a white mold, and completely cover the spider, letting the spider somewhat live normally while the fungus eats the spider from the inside. And when the spider eventually dies, it’ll sprout a body to make it do it all again. Now the question is, should we be worried about these fungi? And the answer is no, there’s no sign that these fungi can infect humans like it does with spiders and ants. 

Science Focus, ran by BBC shares their findings, “There’s no evidence that Cordyceps infect humans. It mostly infects insects and there’s a small number that seem to be able to exert some kind of mind control over their hosts.” They explained that these fungi are very well adapted to their host, so you’ll have one type of Cordyceps that will infect an ant, say, and another one that will affect a grasshopper, one that will infect a spider and so on.

So, if not Fungus making human beings mindless, what else would be a possibility to bring back the dead? Well, apparently, there are rumors that there’s zombies in China, and the government is hiding this fact, but obviously, this was all fake. The reason this might’ve started according to the site National World, it might’ve happened “as a result of a misunderstanding of a 2021 opinion piece from We Are The Mighty, titled “This is how a zombie apocalypse is most likely to start in China” The article explains why a zombie apocalypse is “most likely” to break out in China, and uses excerpts from Max Brooks’ book World War Z, a fictional zombie apocalypse horror novel published in 2006. 

The author of the article states that “China would suppress news of an outbreak” and quotes Brooks’ book saying, “By refusing to admit the truth of the zombie outbreak to the world, the Communist Chinese government aided its spread due to misinformation about what was actually happening.’” This spread far and wide, even to facebook, a video by one ‘Kakaiba’ on facebook depicts a man rising from the dead, however, according to Vera Files, that video was taken from an ad campaign for a russian show, Hello Again. In short, there are no zombie outbreaks in China, or let alone anywhere in the world.

It’s highly unlikely that a zombie apocalypse could happen, as all of the sources we have state that it’s just impossible for it to happen (though if it does happen, I’ll kick myself knowing that I wrote this) . However, if you are worried about a zombie apocalypse happening, the CDC released a guide on how to prepare back in 2011 which may help you prepare to fend off zombies and preserve food rations.