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The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
No one’s expecting the dead to rise again, of course, but there are so-called neurotropic viruses that attack our brains and cause aggressive or bizarre behavior.
Some existing neurotropic viruses are already the stuff of nightmares. For instance, “rabies is pretty scary on its own,” said Kartik Chandran, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Albert Einstein College in New York who studies the deadly Ebola virus. (In the movie and book, the zombie plague is first misidentified as rabies.)
Like the mythical zombie virus, rabies is transferred through biting. Once inside your body, the virus travels directly to your brain and “makes you go nuts and go and bite more people,” he said. More than 55,000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year, which is one person every ten minutes, according to the World Rabies Day website. Most infected people are bitten by rabid wildlife.
How would a “zombie virus” arise? One possibility is that two viruses could join together and form a hybrid.
Viruses work by copying their genetic material within human cells. If there are two viruses in the same cell, one virus may accidentally jump on a genetic copy that belongs to the other virus. The progenitor to the human HIV virus may have arisen this way in Africa when a chimpanzee and monkey virus combined, Chandran explained.
But there’s another way that a mutant virus can arise: if there’s a glitch in the genetic copying machinery of an existing virus. Sometimes, one of these mutations confers an advantage to the virus that allows the mutated strain to outcompete others and quickly take over the world.
That’s why the concept of a World War Z-like viral plague is not so far-fetched.
Scientists Discuss The Reality Of A Zombie Apocalypse: Exclusive October 31, 2013
“I think that the Zombie Virus already exists (almost): Rabies. Infection is nearly 100 percent lethal, i.e. it turns you into the walking dead (for a while at least), and it causes you to change your behavior by reprogramming you to bite other people to spread the infection. Now if only it kept the corpse walking around,” Jonathan D. Dinman, PhD, Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland
Some conspiracy theorists say a zombie virus is already here and its known as LQP-79. This virus is allegedly a “mental virus infection” that derived from the 79th attempt at developing a “Lysergic Quinine Protein” in a bid to create a mind control substance. According to theories, the virus was supposed to be contained to training facilities, but not only have samples been released, the media is playing cover-up by hiding information on this story from the public. Obviously, this story has been proven time and time again to be a hoax, but it has become so popular that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged the term “LQP-79″ had been one of the top searched terms on the government agency’s website in May 2012.
The Walking Dead Doomsday and its flesh-eating monsters might be all fictional but Zombie Apocalypse could really happen in the future. JEB Editor Michael Dickinson introduced certain group of parasites that can infest brain and control the behavior of its host.
In an article by JEB reporter Kathryn Knight, she tackled Dickinson's findings about a specific type of parasites with the ability to control behavior of an individual by infesting his or her nervous system and influence behavior.
"The fact that parasites can so efficiently alter host behaviour is fascinating," Michael Dickinson, from the University of Washington
The parasites have already been linked with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The worst about the condition is it has no known cure for it so far and researchers are just starting to determine what other effects these parasites can do to the brains of its hosts.
reply to post by JimTSpock
Rabies mixing with toxoplasmosis?
The apocalypse would probably last a few weeks, I'll ride it out in my basement
Here is your zombie apocalypse...
I agree with the OP though. It appears the way that viruses mutate and change that it is scientifically possible to have a virus with "zombie like" traits to, one day, sweep the earth. Could be the next "flood" that cleanses the overpopulated earth.
Of course zombies are a possibility. There are organisms which possess the capability to hijack the nervous system in order to optimize their hosts.