National Geographic Channel examines the possibility that the rabies virus could mutate and create a Zombie Earth. Rabies is zombie like virus that causes violent behavior. It’s also a zoonotic disease that can cross species and it affects all mammals. Fortunately, it’s not easily transmissible and requires the exchange of bodily fluid resulting from a bite for example but if the virus mutated and became airborne it would overwhelm hospitals.
People can go months without symptoms while still being contagious. There is no cure for rabies and there’s a very limited supply of rabies vaccine, which must be administered before the onset of symptoms.
Quarantines are notoriously hard to do on a large scale as many people don’t realize they’re sick and the ones who do aren’t always agreeable. A better strategy might to enact a cordon sanitaire, or “sanitary cordon,” like they did in Gunnison, Colorado during the Spanish Flu of 1918. The small mountain town had zero deaths from the flu thanks to Draconian measures that included closing off roads and quarantining anyone getting off the train. Another strategy for combating the disease is the use of moats. Rabies causes paralysis in the jaw and throat that makes swallowing difficult and the produces the telltale symptom of foaming at the mouth. The result is a fear of water because we instinctively swallow at the sight of it. However if the virus crossed over to insects like the mosquito, we’d be up the creek without a paddle.
Evacuate Earth: Zombie Earth airs:
AU – 10:30 p.m. Friday, March 14
UK – 9 p.m. Saturday, March 15