Rabies might cause Zombie Outbreak

2021 Italian study suggests Rabies could lead to Zombies

As the official research paper suggests, scientists conclude that the rabies virus could lead to zombies. Either as a natural mutation, or bio-engineered weapon by a nation state.

What is Rabies?

According to the CDC: Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, although any mammal can get rabies.

Rabies virus belongs to the order Mononegavirales, viruses with a nonsegmented, negative-stranded RNA genomes. Within this group, viruses with a distinct “bullet” shape are classified in the Rhabdoviridae family, which includes at least three genera of animal viruses, Lyssavirus, Ephemerovirus, and Vesiculovirus. The genus Lyssavirus includes rabies virus, Lagos bat, Mokola virus, Duvenhage virus, European bat virus 1 & 2 and Australian bat virus.

Rabies and Zombies

Out of all viral diseases, rabies shares most of it’s symptoms with what is commonly described as a zombie. Although a completely preventable and curable disease right now, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the possible weaponization by nation states. Or that of natural mutation into a viral disease far worse than what it is now.

About the Research, Citation and Abstract

The following citation and abstract are directly from the research.

AU – Lippi, Giuseppe
AU – Cervellin, Gianfranco
PY – 2021/02/11
SP – 2021045
N2 – Human rabies disease is caused by Rabies Lyssavirus, a virus belonging to Rhabdoviridae family. The more frequent means of contagion is through bites of infected mammals (especially dogs, but also bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons and wolves) which, lacerating the skin, directly inoculate virus-laden saliva into the underlying tissues.

Immediately after inoculation, the Rabies virus enters neural axons and migrates along peripheral nerves towards the central nervous system, where it preferentially localizes and injuries neurons of brainstem, thalamus, basal ganglia and spinal cord. After an initial prodromic period, the infection evolves towards two distinct clinical entities, encompassing encephalitic (i.e., “furious”; ~70-80% of cases) and paralytic (i.e., “dumb”; ~20-30% of cases) rabies disease. The former subtype is characterized by fever, hyperactivity, hydrophobia, hypersalivation, deteriorated consciousness, phobic or inspiratory spasms, autonomic stimulation, irritability, up to aggressive behaviours. The current worldwide incidence and mortality of rabies disease are estimated at 0.175×100,000 and 0.153×100,000, respectively.

The incidence is higher in Africa and South-East Asia, nearly double in men than in women, with a higher peak in childhood. Mortality remains as high as ~90%. Since patients with encephalitic rabies remind the traditional image of “Zombies”, we need to think out-of-the-box, in that apocalyptic epidemics of mutated Rabies virus may be seen as an imaginable menace for mankind. This would be theoretically possible by either natural or artificial virus engineering, producing viral strains characterized by facilitated human-to-human transmission, faster incubation, enhanced neurotoxicity and predisposition towards developing highly aggressive behaviours.

T1 – Updates on Rabies virus disease: is evolution toward “Zombie virus” a tangible threat?
VL – 92
DO – 10.23750/abm.v92i1.9153
JO – Acta bio-medica: Atenei Parmensis
ER –

What to expect?

Even though the likelyhood of rabies causing a zombie apocalypse is very low, mostly due to readily available treatment and prevention options, primarily in the developed world. It is not unthinkable that current events surrounding the COVID pandemic get nation states to start thinking about worse scenarios. Not to mention the horrid idea of these nation states weaponizing rabies to something far worse, that could indeed be a zombie apocalypse.

If you’re interested in reading the full research paper, you can download the PDF here. Or visit the official publication page on Research Gate.

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Written by Frank

Dutch guy living in Finland. Founded Zombie Guide Magazine in 2012 as a hobby project.. Which is still is to this day. Besides writing, my passions are fitness, the outdoors and good food.