The University of Arizona Medical Center -- Academic Medicine is Smart Medicine

Could a Zombie Apocalypse Really Happen?

(Arizona Daily Wildcat) - There are zombie movies, zombie TV series and even zombie laser tag. For some reason, zombies have infected the minds of this generation. But why?

“The zombie apocalypse has been presented in many incarnations,” said Brian Mayer, an associate sociology professor at the University of Arizona. “When things get bad economically, sometimes imagining what seems like an impossible disaster gives us a break from our daily routines.”

Although we may not see walkers creeping down the steps of Old Main anytime soon, these concerns of a disease outbreak have foundations in reality, according to Richard Friedman, a professor in the Department of Immunobiology.

There have been many infectious disease outbreaks throughout history, including the bubonic plague, swine flu and, most recently, the cholera outbreak in Florida, Friedman said. Some of these modern diseases can mimic symptoms of “zombie-ism,” he said.

Extreme cases like these are typically found in countries with third-world living conditions, Friedman said. If an outbreak were to propagate in the U.S., it would most likely happen in an area with a high population density. “That’s why college students who live in dorms need vaccinations,” Friedman added.

Click here to read more on the science of a zombie outbreak