Zombie Humans: Now in the news
Hot on the heels of my last Zombie Ants update, one of the most significant Google search trends for early June 2012 is “Zombie Apocalypse.” This has been in response to several high profile news items over the past few weeks, including the curious case of Rudy Eugene, who was shot multiple times by responding police officers as he was caught eating the face of his victim. The graphic nature of the attack and the intense media coverage has led to speculation that an illicit drug known as “bath salts” was responsible for Eugene’s behavior, however toxicology results have not been completed yet.
Mephedrone, or “bath salts”, is a synthetic stimulant of the amphetamine class of drugs. As an analog of other illegal stimulants in the United States, it is also considered illegal for use. The drug produces a variety of effects when taken, and is a powerful stimulant. A number of deaths have been noted worldwide due to consumption of mephedrone. Misrepresentative labeling of mephedrone containing compounds has led to their relatively easy access currently in the US and elsewhere. The labeling of mephedrone as “bath salts” is one way for producers of the compound to skirt legality.
So what about zombies? The Centers for Disease Control put up a blog entry in May 2011, which gave very good information describing how Americans could best prepare themselves in case of a serious natural disaster. The website included several excellent recommendations including: a source of clean water (1 gallon per person per day), non-perishable food, a supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines, and a small toolbox with useful supplies like a utility knife, duct tape, and a battery powered radio. The website was designed with preparing citizens for disasters such as “tornadoes and hurricanes,” however the site had the tongue-in-cheek title “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.”
This well meaning intention has had the unfortunate effect of making it seem that the CDC has had realistic concerns about the feasibility of zombies, and that somehow the spate of recent news stories somehow has a basis with fictional zombies. In response, the CDC has had to come out on record with the statement that the
CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)
So rest assured, if you get attacked by your roommate, they are likely not really a zombie. Stephen Colbert, however, thinks otherwise!
BONUS TIME! List in the comment thread an actual infectious disease that can modify the behavior of humans!