The US Center for Disease Control has been forced to address the American public in the wake of internet rumors of a possible ‘zombie apocalypse”.
It’s hard to say which is more ‘out there’: that people believe there might be a virus that reanimates dead people, or that a federal agency actually weighed in on the issue in earnest.
The CDC has previously run a few tongue-in-cheek campaigns about zombies, using the popular theme to get the public prepared for “anything”. As the agency’s director says, “if you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack".
But it’s now found itself in an unusual spot: having to treat the matter seriously. CDC spokesman David Daigle said the agency “does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)”.
But it’s not reassuring the masses. Zombie conspiracies are bouncing around the Internet, becoming the third most-popular search term on Google – all after a number of unrelated, yet disturbing, incidents.
A man in Miami attacked and ate the face of his victim. The victim survived, but doctors are having a hard time piecing his face together. Then, an engineering student in Maryland allegedly stabbed a man to death and then ate his heart and brain. In Canada, police are on the hunt for a porn actor who reportedly slaughtered, dismembered, sexually-violated the body and then ate his victim.
The cause for this cannibalistic outbreak is unclear – some blame drugs, others cite psychological issues. One woman even claimed it was all because of a voodoo curse. But the human fascination with the undead is not new; it’s one of the reasons the CDC used them for an awareness campaign in the first place.
And even though they deny the existence of zombies, a kit list on their website provides readers with information about everything they may need in case a zombie does come around.
So, in case you’re feeling panicky, remember: non-perishable food, medications, a utility knife, sanitation supplies, clothing, personal documents and one gallon of water per day should keep the undead away.