With Dr. Nancy Chan
ZWN's Science Editor answers readers questions and concerns
Dateline: Springfield, Illinois.
Special contribution from ZWN field reporter: Michael Pacholski
Posted: 5th, Apr. 2009
Since the first town hall meeting that dealt specifically with issues and concerns regarding zombies and the necromortosis virus in particular was held in Muncie, Colorado on March 22, facts, myths, and unknowns of all kinds have sprung up on talk shows, the Internet, political speeches, and legislation. Hundreds of discussions have taken place across the United States and the world concerning how the virus can be spread, who is at risk for infection, and the means and methods for proper virus containment and disposal.
Some well-meaning citizens have even asked the ages-old "toilet seat" question. ZWN invited resident Science Editor Dr. Nancy Chan to answer some of the more lingering questions.
"To answer the 'toilet seat question' accurately, one must first understand the nature of viruses," Rubek said. "Viruses can 'live', so to speak, on surfaces outside the body for many hours and sometimes even days. However, to spread the disease in such a way requires an immediate portal of entry. In other words, one's legs would have to have an open wound in order for the virus to spread that way. And one would have to have that opening directly contacting the toilet seat surface. Viruses can't jump or fly. A distance of even a microscopic fraction of an inch would mean no infection."
"One peculiar aspect of viruses is that their activity tends to accelerate once inside a body to an alarming degree compared to their dormancy outside a body."
Is the virus airborne?
"No. Our initial tests in Haiti and subsequent tests in Russia and around the world have confirmed the virus is not airborne. Current strong theories are focusing on olfactory (nasal) and salivary glands as means of transmission and attraction. Upon autopsy, we've noticed small but key alterations in nasal receptors we believe help with undead locating fresh meat from far outside the range of normal human smell."
a genetic component that makes some people susceptible?
If the dead
cannot rise without the virus, how did the virus come to be?
some of the key signs that a room has recently had an undead presence?
Letters to Dr. Chan
Dear Dr. Chan,
Considering the fragile human emotional condition, working in a secluded sewage system with rumors of a spectral presence could understandably get the notion of being watched and stalked. However, It seems a rather large leap to suggest a paranormal apparition. I think it's more likely an undead victim, a mortosis sufferer, who perhaps was secluded down there for a reason we may never know. Perhaps for his/her own safety or that of others? There have not been any significant Necro-Mortosis outbreaks in the East Sussex region. But these things do have a way of flaring up out of nowhere.
Dear Dr. Chan,
It seems as if the drug "M-Bomb" could be turned into
a forerunner for a cure or a vaccine. In the The Human Race with Race
Barrington, the M-Bomb can cause reanimation in 3-6 uses, or one...meaning
its possible to take in the virus but not be reanimated. So...maybe
you can build the body's immune system with these small doses, enough
to fight off the virus? I don't know just a thought.
Editors note: For more on this subject, see - 'M-Bomb'
You are correct. The emergence of the 'M-Bomb' amphetamine/mortosis hybrid drug has caused quite a flap with the World Health Authority. In fact, a much anticipated paper is expected to be released in the British Science and Medical journal 'The Lancet' as early as October. There is cautious optimism that at least some good will come out of this drug menace.
Have very much enjoyed reading the site, especially over the moral ethics of when life begins and ends. Its something I've never really thought about but something that you said really got me thinking. Does it end when the soul leaves the body etc? And is the brain tricked into thinking the body is dead? Very plausible points, over time studies have shown a handful of undead specimens have in someway shape or form acted out and remembered day to day things that would have been part of their routine in their normal life. Hand an incarcerated male zombie a razor and 1.5% of the time he has held it up to his face in a fashion that resembled the motions of shaving.
This has also been recorded with female specimens and hair combs, the very basics of normal day to day life.
My point is, if from somewhere deep in their mind they are visualizing and recalling these memories, does this not mean that on some very tactile level the brain is still not only living, but capable of recalling and carrying out basic tasks. Seems to me that its just the very basic instincts almost like a Neanderthal but still very active.
Just my thought
Dear R. McHugh
We asked the opinion of ZWN's Science Editor - Nancy Chan:
"Almost like a Neanderthal" I think that is correct when looking at the pavlovian reactions to stimulation. It's the 'reptile brain' that instills reaction (cause and effect). But remember, this is 'reaction' as opposed to action. The more modern inclinations to comb hair and shave are of great interest and have inspired numerous studies to date. The general consensus is that the neurons still hold small residual pathways via remnant synapses to the brain. This conforms to the theory that the virus,' necro-mortosis', is in fact a bacterial predator, and the brain is the host. To completely damage the brain would render the host unable to provide the sustenance the parasite needs in the form of warm flesh. However, cognitive ability to higher level thinking is destroyed. Only habitual lower level tasks and skills remain.
Archive report: Top Ten Myths & Misunderstandings About 'The Undead'
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If you suspect anyone of showing sympoms of the 'Necro- Mortosis' Virus, the Government has released the following anonymous tip line.
1 800 155 3219
Read ZWN Field reporter Zandra Corbes amazing story of survival and rescue in the Haitian zombie hot zone.
Read ZWN Science Editor Dr. Nancy Chan as she answers readers questions and concerns