In a story today from CNN, Dr. Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist who holds positions at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry, discussed the very real implications of a real-world zombie outbreak.
During a conversation about Dr. Schlozman’s new book, The Zombie Autopsies, the discussion turned to one most die-hard zombie fans have at least once a week- “What if it were real? How would it go down?”.
Yes, real scientists actually do think about this too.
It turns out that there are those in the scientific community that look at a zombie outbreak scenario as a useful analog for studying outbreak scenarios. Fear, panic, questions of ethics, contamination, etc; all elements present in zombie scenarios as well as outbreaks past and present from the Black Plague right up to E-coli and Mad Cow.
A mathematician at the University of Ottawa named Robert Smith? (no not THAT Robert Smith, that’s why he uses the question mark) notes, “There are insights that we gain from the movies, and from fiction, from fun popular culture stuff, that actually can really help us think about the way that science works, and also the way science is communicated,”
This all lead to Dr. Schlozman writing a zombie novel, gleaming years of research into the fictional undead and combining it with a career’s worth of studying outbreaks and virii; which is a promising combination when it comes to creating a really mind-bending zombie story.
The Zombie Autopsies looks to not use bites as the primary form of infection, but rather an airborne virus that is intentionally created and then released into the public. A virus so potent that it can remain active in an infected person and be passed with nothing more than a sneeze.
Think about that, before you complain about the bite not being the main infector. You can become a zombie as easily as you caught a cold on your last flight.
That’s scary, not only do you have to worry about Bub gnawing off your favorite arm; but you have to also be watching out for the guy who still has color in his cheeks but won’t cover his damned mouth when he coughs.
Do yourself a favor and check out the full article (link below). It’s got some very cool insights into how medical and scientific professionals approach zombies, as well as some teasers about Dr. Schlozman’s book.
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Dr. Stanley Blum is already infected (as is two-thirds of humankind) with ataxic neurodegenerative satiety deficiency syndrome (ANSD)—the virus that makes flesh-eating zombies lurch and lunch—when he decamps to Bassas da India, an island overseen by the U.N., to vivisect captive zombies in the hope of isolating the pathogen before he succumbs to it.
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