• Question: out of all the diesies at the moment which one do you think is the most similar to the diesie that creates zombies

    Asked by mrswag to Adrian, Iroise, Joe, Rachel, Ria on 16 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Joe Bathelt

      Joe Bathelt answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      I guess you mean a disease that would create aggression and loss of control. I think the only thing that comes close to this is rabies. Rabies is caused by a virus that can affect the central nervous system and can lead to uncontrollable anxiety and sometimes aggression. There is a great book on rabies that discusses the disease and how it influenced popular culture, including zombies. The book is “Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus” by Bill Wasik.

    • Photo: Rachel Harris

      Rachel Harris answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      Zombies are definitely not real but there are several conditions that are compared to fictional zombies.

      Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite transmitted by the tsetse fly. The parasite can invade the brain and spinal cord where it causes damage to nerve cells. Symptoms include disrupted sleep, tremors and slow movement.
      Read more about it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4683903.stm

      Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Kuru are very rare diseases both caused by the same protein in the brain changing shape. This protein is called ‘prion’ and the change in shape leads to nerve cells dying and symptoms including personality changes, movement, sleep and memory problems.

      Read more about these diseases here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmissible_spongiform_encephalopathy

    • Photo: Adrian Chu

      Adrian Chu answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      As suggested above, in humans rabies is perhaps the most illustrative example of how people would perceive a “zombie virus” to be.

      In bees and wasps, they can be infected by a parasitic fly called Apocephalus borealis which cause them to lose control of flying. Eventually the bees or wasps die from the infection, and from the dead bodies larvae may emerge which will eventually grow into new flies. This “zombee” example is perhaps even more illustrative than rabies in humans!