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Sleeping sickness is the stuff nightmares are made of. The headline of this BBC News article from 2005 pretty much says it all: "The disease that makes people zombies." Prevalent in Africa, sleeping sickness iscaused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei and transmitted by the tsetse fly.
There isn't a disease, be it mental or physiological, that makes people want to eat other people, at least none as currently recognized by medical science. (Cannibalism isn't considered a mental illness in its own right, but rather as a part of a larger web of psychoses.) There are certain culture-specific mental conditions - Wendigo psychosis, observed in certain native American peoples, is one of the better examples - that make people think they are turning into cannibals, but that's about it.
Those of you who are up on your Greek roots already know where we're going with one: necrosis is death, specifically those of individual groups of cells before the organism as a whole dies. This isn't technically a disease but rather a condition with a lot of different possible causes. Cancer, poison, injury, and infection are all possible causes of premature cell death.
Let's take a bit of a break and talk about something relatively less serious. ("Relatively" being very much the key word there.) We've talked about possible causes of zombie-like trances, cell death, and hyper-aggression. What about something a little more innocuous, like the iconic moans and grunts of the oncoming zombie horde? What could cause that?
Both zombie folklore and leprosy have a long, long history. Armies of the flesh-eating undead can be traced all the way back to the roughly tenth century BCE Akkadian work The Epic of Gilgamesh, which drew on earlier Sumerian mythology and was one of the first substantial written works in human history. Cases of leprosy have been reported going back some four thousand years throughout Eurasia and northern Africa, including China, India, and Egypt.
Originally posted by MarkJS
Zombies.... the stuff that nightmares are made of. Imagine if you would... ppl shuffling down the
street with their head in their arms.... not seeing, talking, or hearing. Or worse yet, they lost
their head and are just shuffling bodies (head is separated, but still alive someplace).
Others are walking out of hospitals with great gashes in them from failed surgeries... organs and
intestines hanging out, or dragging in the street behind them. Others with bullet-wounds in
them... faces greatly disfigured or even burnt to the point where they are unrecognizable by
sight..... really skinny people - that should have died of starvation.... but apparently did
not.... Yet all, walking about this great planet.... functioning to one degree or another. These,
unlike the zombie movies we've seen, are fully consious and are all in great pain.... "the pain
could kill them", they say, as a sick joke.... Some of these showing up for work, and zombie
bosses letting them- "a zombie has to pay bills too, you know!". Some trying to drive- cars or
motorcycles. A few zombies would be found in airports- trying to go through security
checkpoints... Zombie parent(s) trying to care for terrified and horrified traumatized
children.... If they died in a car accident, then why are they still in the house, acting like
they didn't die? Other zombies - having the nerve not to remain buried. Others put them in a
casket to have a reverent funeral... but -they won't stay dead-, or lay still long enough for it
to make sense. All the morticians are on vacation. In 3rd world countries, people are buried, but
keep popping out of their graves.... looking all dead-like. Attempted suicide people, floating in
rivers, moaning. There was this bi-plane with 120 people on board that crashed. The good news is
that nobody died. The bad news is that they all died, but didn't die... as they are now walking
around in zombie-states.... burnt, dismembered...
What am I talking about? Am I crazy? The above scenario is not just plausible, but probable.
What horrible disease can cause this? I don't know for sure that a disease can do such damage...
but a 'cure' can. My guess is that someone, somewhere will DNA-engineer a sequence designed to
give people immortality. They will achieve it, with disastrous, disastrous, unanticipated results.
Man wants to play God.... God will let them.
Refer to the following passage about death taking a holiday. I've made some uppercase for
emphasis. Some of this is symbolic, but all of it is real:
Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the
earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the
bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great
furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the
pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was
given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were
commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any
tree, but ONLY THOSE MEN WHO DO NOT HAVE THE SEAL OF GOD ON THEIR
FOREHEADS. 5 And THEY WERE NOT GIVEN AUTHORITY TO KILL THEM, BUT TO
TORMENT THEM FOR FIVE MONTHS. Their torment was like the torment of a
scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 IN THOSE DAYS MEN WILL SEEK DEATH AND
WILL NOT FIND IT; THEY WILL DESIRE TO DIE, AND DEATH WILL FLEE FROM THEM.
7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their
heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the
faces of men. 8 They had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like
lions' teeth. 9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and
the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses
running into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were
stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And
they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in
Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 12 One woe is
Hope and pray that you can escape this time. If you are Born-Again, I think that the Rapture will
come before this, so that God/Jesus will allow those who are ready to avoid it. Thank God for His grace!
edit on 14/7/2011 by MarkJS because: (formatting)edit on 14/7/2011 by MarkJS because: formattingedit on 14/7/2011 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Gazrok
Of course, bite isn't a very effective way to spread it, so it'd be quickly contained I think.