WHO minority report: the zombie plague is already upon us
Outbreaks of zombiism have been occurring for years, and soon we won’t be able to sweep them under the rug. These are the contentious allegations put forward by a new report published by the Cardiff office of the World Health Organization (WHO). Co-authored by the Atlanta, GA branch of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the report sheds new light on a number of recent high-profile outbreaks of disease.
This “zombie” virus, the report claims, is both the byproduct of nature and of our own attempts to cure disease. It began in 2002, when Cambridge scientists identified a strain of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (the parasite responsible for what we call “sleeping sickness”) that was itself infected with the Ebola virus. The infected strain of Trypanosoma was discovered in three individual chimpanzees exhibiting a range of symptoms—including both Ebola’s tell-tale hemorrhagic fever and the changes of behavior, confusion, and poor coordination associated with sleeping sickness.
Seeing the dire state of the animals, the Cambridge team set out assessing the risk of human spillover. In their efforts to understand the relationship between the Ebola virus and its parasitic host, the team exposed one of the three chimps to high doses of radiation. Instead of killing the single-celled Trypanosoma, the radiation partially broke down the genetic material of the Ebola virus, effectively merging it with its host in the form of a new organelle.
The virus-fused Trypanosoma (hereafter referred to simply as the T-virus) could have proven invaluable to the Cambridge team’s research, but shortly after its creation the entire project was shut down amidst allegations of animal rights violations.
The story, WHO Cardiff urges, does not end there. The Cardiff report alleges that the three chimpanzees, including the one infected with the T-virus, fell into the hands of PETA activists. These activists are the same individuals, the claim goes on, that showed up on WHO Cardiff’s own doorstep one week later looking for treatment for animal bite marks. “Had we known what they were infected with, we might have been able to stop this madness then and there,” states team leader Isaac Clarke.
Unfortunately, nobody outside the now-defunct Cambridge lab had any idea of the existence of T-virus at the time. WHO Cardiff diagnosed the infection as traditional Ebola, siting the PETA activists’ recent travel to Africa as the culprit. This was the beginning of the zombie epidemic. Over the last few years, the Cardiff team has watched as “Ebola” outbreaks increase both in number and frequency across the globe.
“This isn’t Ebola. You don’t sit still, staring placidly for hours as you sweat blood if it’s Ebola,” says Clarke. “We knew something was wrong.” Something that jogged lab tech Shaun Riley’s memory enough for him to revisit the WHO’s own 2002 Ebola samples. By cross-referencing the symptoms exhibited by the 2002 victims, Clarke and Riley unearthed a pattern of what they believe to be cases of T-virus infections, either swept under the government rug or misdiagnosed as either traditional Ebola or unknown conditions. These cases include, but are not limited to the 2008 Fairfield incident, the 2013 rash illness that struck the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as the Ebola outbreak that struck the Atlanta CDC last year.
Over the last year Clarke and Riley have been working with the CDC’s Dr. Edwin Jenner to nail down a full list of T-virus symptoms. As their report states, if you perceive a loved one staring off into space, fixating on sources of blue light, or binge-watching old television shows, your home could be infected. Further signs of infection include a poor understanding of time, grunts as social communication, and an unwillingness to look away from mobile devices. By the time the blood starts pouring from your loved ones eyes, it is already too late. If you fear your home has been exposed to infection please contact your local CDC or WHO office, where culling operations are already underway.
TL;DR: Shuffle on over to your local CDC for a fun, non-stop screening of every episode of The Walking Dead ever. We’re cooking s’mores after, so don’t be alarmed at the smell of smoke!
For more info how to prepare for the out break, visit the CDC here.
Or if you just want to go with it, check out how you can eat like zombie below!