As if the outbreak of Ebola that spread like wildfire across Africa earlier this year wasn’t horrible enough, some scientists are now saying if the virus becomes airborne, it could be responsible for a zombie apocalypse scenario straight from television.
The only good news of sorts is the scientific community believes Ebola won’t mutate into an airborne pathogen naturally. All bets are off, though, if some mad scientist intentionally tinkers with it.
It’s already well discussed that terrorists around the world may be considering using weaponized Ebola as a bioweapon by infecting volunteers and sending them into countries to intentionally spread the disease. According to Vladimir Nikiforov from the Department of Infectious Diseases in Russia, there’s already a chance Ebola could be weaponized in the form of an aerosol spray.
Nikiforov cautioned that if a man-made strain of Ebola were released into the general population, the death toll would be horrific. Worse, as the artificial virus spread uncontrollably, we could witness further mutations (intentionally or naturally) where the pathogen may cause zombie-type effects on those infected.
Naturally occurring viruses don’t mix and match the disease processes of other viruses. Artificially created viruses are another story, and it’s entirely possible for the combination of several conditions.
For instance, influenza is typically transmitted through droplets and in some circumstances can be transmitted via the airborne route. Measles induces both delirium and abnormal behaviour while Encephalitis causes a high fever. The fear is that these or many other viruses could be combined with Ebola creating a zombie-type virus.
The only ray of hope if this terrifying possibility comes true is that those poor, infected souls wouldn’t live long. Instead of superhuman, bullet resistant zombies able to keep going despite being shot to pieces, these “zombies” would only survive for a few days. Quarantining measures could be enacted to isolate the rest of the population, stopping further transmission.