Following several disturbing incidents involving cannibalism that have set the Internet aflutter with rumours of an impending ‘Zombie Apocalypse,’ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement on Friday saying that there is no cause to fear the walking dead.
Over the years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a couple of tongue-in-cheek “zombie warnings,” which really are just disaster-preparedness stunts. But on Thursday, the agency made it official: Zombies don’t exist.
“CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” wrote agency spokesman David Daigle in an email to The Huffington Post.
For those still in doubt, however, the CDC has a tongue-in-cheek page dedicated to “Zombie Preparedness,” including a blog, some downloadable posters, and a readable novella.
The blog, authored by Dr. Ali S. Khan, the director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, includes a brief history of zombies, an emergency kit, and an emergency plan. The CDC even sells Zombie Task Force T-shirts.
“If you are generally well-equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack,” said Khan, who is also the U.S. assistant surgeon general.
Meawhile, recent incidents in which humans reportedly ate human flesh have the Internet in a firestorm, with “zombie apocalypse” being Google’s third most popular search term by Friday morning.
The zombie craze seemed to start with an attack in Miami last Saturday, when Rudy Eugene, 31, was killed by cops while in the process of eating almost the entirety of a homeless man’s face off.
The victim, Ronald Poppo, miraculously survived, but doctors are having a hard time figuring out how to put his face back together.
Cops in Canada are also searching for a low-budget porn actor who allegedly killed Jun Lin, a Chinese man believed to be his lover, with an ice pick, dismembered the body and then raped and ate flesh from the corpse.
Luka Rocco Magnotta is being hunted after he allegedly mailed some of the body parts to Ottawa, Canada, says the Daily Mail. He’s also accused of killing cats on video and posting the footage online.
The gruesome parade of crimes involving cannibalism has continued with a man in Sweden who allegedly cut off and ate his wife’s lips, followed by a story out of New York where a man chewed the ear off another man at a Staten Island restaurant.
It also has been reported that in New Jersey, a man stabbed himself multiple times in front of police and then threw pieces of his skin and intestines at them.
Zombie-like characteristics have been confirmed in the animal kingdom, just not in humans. A newfound fungus in a Brazilian rain forest – called Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani – is known to infect an ant, take over its brain so as to move the body to a good location for growth, and then kill the insect.
Yet Mr. Daigle dismissed “fictional viruses” like Ataxic Neurodegenrative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, noting that other triggers have been alleged to cause zombie-like symptoms.
“Films have included radiation as well as mutations of existing conditions such as prions, mad-cow disease, measles, and rabies,” he said. But recently, some have found truth stranger than fiction.
“Action must be taken now before an outbreak!” an anonymous reader told The Huffington Post. “Zombies may be subdued by destroying the brain or removing the head. It is now your responsibility to prevent the apocalypse.”
IB Times wonders that with increasing number of cases suggestive of impending zombie apocalypse, how seriously can we take CDC’s statement that they do not know of any virus or condition that could lead to zombies? IB Time’s tongue-in-cheek advise: “Take caution, and be prepared for anything. They live among us.”