Could the Zombie Apocalypse be caused by a virus?
Viruses, parasites and fungi all make the species jump from animal to human on a regular basis – this is known as Zoonosis. It would be less terrifying if this form of interspecies leap was rare, but it is not. Around 60% of all human infectious diseases currently known have crossed between other animals and humans.
The terrifying and gruesome Ebola is a zoonosis. So is bubonic plague, West Nile fever, Lassa, Marburg. Measles probably originally jumped into us from domesticated sheep and goats. Herpes B, Rabies, of course, Nipah, anthrax, Flu and SARs. The list goes on and on, but the last 50 years or so has seen increasing numbers of new infectious diseases spilling over from animals into humans. Well over 20 have emerged since the 1970s, a trend that seems to be becoming more frequent.
Well… the leap from animal to human is not so far-fetched, and a mutation or genetic shift in something relatively harmless could easily lead to something more lethal and infectious.
A bite from an animal or person infected with Rabies can already transform the victim of the bite. Changing their behaviour towards aggression, mania, brain damage and death. As yet there is no cure for Rabies and the virus can be transferred from animals to humans.
Toxoplasma, another nasty that can spread from animal to human, often by way of a cat litter tray. In mice it causes them to become fearless, get in the vicinity of cats and get eaten.
Of course, none of this really explains the whole living dead side of things. But for now we have mind control parasites, a planet crawling with viruses, and um Sex Puppeteer parasites, all combined with a propensity for nature to evolve and mutate and to jump species. I think the next article better be how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, and I better get round to it quick!