Saturday, March 24, 2012

Zombie Infection Mistaken For Rabies Outbreak, Idea

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[In response to this suggestion about why nobody in zombie fiction has heard of zombies:

I assume it's because zombie attacks are usually written like disease outbreaks, so you need to explain why nobody does anything about the zombies until it's Too Late. Vampires and werewolves and things can be a credible threat even if everyone knows their habits and weaknesses, because they're stealthy and individually very powerful. But a zombie outbreak can't get started if people immediately headshot them on sight and start cremating all their dead.]

I'm not sure I really buy that.

Say, for example, that you've got a slow acting infection initially spread by almost anything other than standard zombie fare. (And it has to start with something non-zombie-like anyway, otherwise you have to explain why the zombie hordes weren't noticed years earlier.) Something in food, a chemical in sweat, whatever the hell you want. The initial infected population is an airport. Infected individuals travel throughout the world.

When they get to the biting, in places the world over, they aren't dead yet. It is initially mistaken for something else, say, rabies. And treated as such. The procedures do not involve shooting in the head or cremating dead. The problems are mostly when people in an encounter were infected but didn't let on (because then they go off to do their own thing and then end up biting people further down the line.)
You've now got the public aware that there's a particularly problematic strain of rabies the world over, but that's all it appears to be. Until they start dying. And that that point, or rather shortly after, they immediately overrun the hospitals they've been placed in. (Starting with the morgues.)

People who get close to them die. Those at a distance think that it's some superrabies, it's a while before anyone realizes that the sick people are actually dead people, and by that time it's already loose in the cities. Some of the people fleeing from the initially affected cities have already been bitten, they take the disease with them to wherever they flee to. News is sketchy at best, people who think "Zombie" are laughed off. The infection spreads.

If you're close enough to the problem to realize these things are zombies, you're probably already in over your head.

By the time mainstream news has wised up to the fact that there's an actual zombie infection on the loose, the infection has already started to collapse civilization as we know it, it's all over the world, and spreading in every direction.

You can have people not treat zombies as zombies provided there is a seemingly reasonable alternative, just like even in stories where people are aware of the idea of vampires they do not immediately default to crosses and stakes through the heart when they meet someone who only comes out at night.


[Original Work Index]

1 comment:

  1. How would Fox News report an outbreak? (It would depend on what party the president's from at the time, of course.) How would the people for whom that's the only trustworthy source of information react?