Friday, July 26, 2013

This Week's Zombie Research

This week, I was still focused on pathogens and the various ways they can be transmitted to humans.  It's mind boggling to believe that we are constantly surrounded by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all things that have the potential to make us sick.  In response to this constant bombardment, we've developed these fantastic defense mechanisms called immune systems.

Disease and pathogens have been among us since the dawn of time.  They are highly evolved and incredibly specialized.  Occasionally, if the conditions are just right, they create havoc among humans, wiping out the vast majority of the population.  Epidemics have occurred throughout history.  Thankfully, one of the ways to combat the threat is advanced technology and breakthroughs in the medical field.

Since we have come such a long way from the Dark Ages, I wonder how easy it would be for an epidemic or pandemic (a global-scale disease) to wipe out the vast majority of the population.  Air travel definitely aids in transferring pathogens from one part of the globe to the other, but we also have the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control to nip any outbreaks in the bud.  Does the possibility even exist that a pathogen could get out of control and become unstoppable?



Wait, you say, what about a biological attack?  Well, that is a distinct possibility, but weaponizing bacteria and viruses is not as easy as you'd think.  They are highly specialized creatures, and they evolved over time to have highly specialized means of transferring to specific hosts.  Trying to replicate that is difficult.  And remember, it could always backfire and infect the attacking troops.

Now, I'm not saying it hasn't been done, it has.  Occasionally, it has also been successful.  However, because of the health organizations that are in place and their close monitoring of the disease population, it's pretty easy to tell when a biological attack has occurred.  Thankfully, it can be squashed pretty quickly.

If the vast majority of the world is going to be transformed into zombies by a pathogen, what would it take?

2 comments:

  1. Speaking of germs and wipe-outs... did you see the news that squirrels!! in Calif were found infected with...plague??

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  2. That's not really surprising. The pathogen is carried on fleas. A few years ago, they found plague on prairie dogs. It's one of those diseases that hasn't been completely eradicated, but we know enough about it to stop another epidemic from occurring.

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