The ongoing swine flu outbreak in Mexico naturally has the zombie aware wondering if this could be the first step in the inevitable zombie apocalypse. It’s got some classic hallmarks: sudden development, high death rate, government entreaties not to panic, those biohazard-y looking dust masks. So is it time to head to your secure location, board up the windows and start sharpening your machete? Not quite yet.
It’s important to remember that, as of yet, there haven’t even been any rumors of swine-flu fatalities getting up to walk around. There also haven’t been any rumors of attacks on health care workers, family of the afflicted or anyone else. Hell, they only just verified it could pass from person to person. So apart from the elements of a new, highly contagious, still-mutating sickness and visual element of biohazard masks, this isn’t looking particularly zombiesque.
Still, it’s a good thing that the zombie community is watching these developments closely. If this does turn out to be the first outbreak of the zombie virus, we won’t be caught unaware. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a good test run of our monitoring systems and a chance to look hard at our contingency plans. And, if it turns out to be a more mundane apocalypse, like a garden-variety flu pandemic, the close monitoring of the news for signs of walking dead should still impart some practical knowledge sure to be of use.
So for now, keep monitoring the news but don’t shoot the staggering, sunken-eyed, pale dude on your lawn just yet. Look for zombie-indicating new developments – warnings to isolate the infected or dead should be considered suspicious, while instructions to decapitate or burn them should be considered an undead giveaway. Reports of riots, sudden outbreaks of bitey behavior or high spikes in murder rates near infected areas are all high-probability danger signs as well. And get your bug-out bag ready if it isn’t already. It can’t hurt to be ready to head for the hills when you see the first zombies instead of stopping to pick up that last box of granola bars and an extra fire axe, right?