Saturday night, I thought about the movie I had just watched: “Train To Busan”. It tells the story about a couple of passengers who struggle to survive on the express train from Seoul to Busan while a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea. I was asking myself if this could be real, if we could ever be facing a zombie apocalypse, if we could ever be fighting for our survival in a world that is owned by the dead.
Nowadays, our culture is full of tales, movies, and tv shows of the living dead walking the Earth, from religions (e.g. Vodou) to comic books (e.g. The Walking Dead). But, some sort of zombie apocalypse isn't actually possible, right? Right? If you let me turn your fictional point of view of zombies to a pathological point of view, the answer to this question might change… (scary right?)
My first theory is brain parasites.
When I got home that night, I started researching about parasites that can alter our behavior, and result in making us violent. And what I found was unexpectedly astonishing. Parasites that turn victims into mindless, zombie-like slaves are fairly common in nature. There's one called toxoplasma gondii that seems to devote its entire existence to being terrifying. A number of studies have suggested that behavioral or personality changes may occur in infected humans, and infection with the parasite has recently been associated with a number of neurological disorders that tend to make the victim aggressive. Half the human population on Earth is infected with toxoplasma, and don't know it. Hey, maybe you're one of them! Flip a coin.
All it takes for this to be a zombie apocalypse is for this parasite to evolve (to be stronger), which can certainly happen. So, imagine if half the world suddenly was real savage and had no rational thought. Even less than they do now, I mean.
My second theory is a stronger version of Rabies.
I was thinking that Rabies victims look a lot alike to zombies!
Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. Its symptoms are: violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, an inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Also, the strong desire to bite others… yup, read it again, bite. Rabies victims are to be held tied to a bed for the uncontrollable violent behavior. If the infected person bites another, guess what happens to the bitten person? Take a wild guess! The bitten person gets infected too! Making it a chain of infection if it's not stopped (i.e. tying the person). Rabies causes about 24,000 to 60,000 deaths worldwide per year. So, imagine what would happen if this number of infected people started biting their neighbors, and those neighbors their neighbors, and those neighbors´s neighbors their neighbors! Oh boy! 2 things: 1. so many neighbors! 2. This would be a virus spread uncontrollably all over the world causing the ZOMBIE apocalypse!
Take your time… I know it sounds creepy!
So now I ask again, could zombies ever be more than fiction?