By Doc Ruger M.D.
Chairman Dept. of Zombology and Reanimation
The Florida Autonomy Institute
ZOMBIE: A definition
A zombie is dead or to be more precise, undead, which means at some phase the zombie experienced death, i.e. absent brain wave function and cardiac rhythm. Essentially a zombie is a cadaver that has reanimated. Physiologically a zombie is alive at a cellular level, but the original psyche (soul or life force) has been extinguished (or at least partially so). So zombies always start as productive, well-intentioned beings and ultimately end up as soulless, flesh eating, creatures that are difficult to kill and that have no resemblance to the host body’s original life plan. (A similar phenomenon frequently occurs with politicians and congressional bills, but no viral infection is involved.)
The only scientifically confirmed zombification (reanimation following death), so far, is due to viral infection. This virus is known as the ZA virus (aka zombie animation virus). It is a DNA virus with a host range limited to humans. The ZA virus is a modified human herpes virus 6 (known as variant HHV-6Z) Like other HHV-6 viruses, the ZA virus integrates in the telomeres of human chromosomes making it impossible for the immune system to eliminate HHV-6Z (zombologists refer to this as the neotaxation effect). Like other HHV-6 viruses it is transferred via saliva (salarva).
Viral infection typically occurs following a bite. Viral loads are very high in salarva (saliva infected with virus). Overall, approximately 50% of bites convert to full-blown infection, but be aware that early zombification is difficult to diagnose in some individuals (Therefore, do not immediately head shot a bite victim; be aware that some federal employee behaviors can mimic zombification).
In this treatise, we will be discussing only scientifically documented zombies. Zombies based on magic do not exist (unless you believe in elves, ghosts, unicorns, and the theory that filling out government forms solve problems). Please remember that zombie classification is like a bell-shaped curve, not a straight line. Variations from normal can always be found.
FACTORS AFFECTING ZA VIRAL TRANSMISSION
Stage of Zombie at the time of bite:
- Early stage (aka - white zombies, beating heart zombies) - low viral load in salarva (infected saliva).
- Intermediate stage (aka - grey zombie, asystole zombie) - moderate viral load in salarva.
- Late stage (aka - black zombie, asystole zombie) - high viral load in salarva.
Depth of bite:
- No bite, but exposure to Zombie tissue/fluid (flesh, blood, etc.) in an open wound or contact with mucous membranes. – Very low risk. Slang – "a splash and go"
- Dermal bites - Low risk. Slang – "a nibble"
- Into subcutaneous fat - Moderate risk. Slang- a "perforator" or "perf".
- Into muscle - High risk. Slang – "chewscrew" or "scrab bite" if tissue was bitten off.
Location of bite:
- Torso-low risk.
- Extremities-moderate risk.
- Hands and feet-moderately high risk.
- Head, neck and genitalia-high risk. If on the genitalia Slang - "gnawjob"
- .01% of population is immune to the ZA virus (large viral assaults can overwhelm this immunity).
- Survival from superficial bites may confer temporary immunity for six to twelve months to deeper bites.
- Vaccines exist, but effectiveness is variable and some patients develop severe vaccination reactions. (Current vaccines are all investigational drugs in phase one trials)
- Antiviral therapy may block progression but does not prevent infection. (Antivirals are available only through investigational use and are currently in phase two clinical trials.
- "Pseudozombifaction" may occur in bitten individuals with immunity. Immediate reactions can appear worse than actual zombification. Skin changes with darkening and sloughing may be noticeable. Other zombification symptoms are not present.
PATHOLOGY FOLLOWING ZOMBIE BITES
After a zombie bite, there is a 12-48 hour incubation period. (Diseases do not read textbooks so this time frame may vary).
Disorientation (none to severe).
- Sweating (will start secreting necromones once the nanotubular network reaches the skin and invade sweat glands)
- "Scoptophobia" – fear of being seen. Forty percent of infected will exhibit this trait during the incubation period.
- Extreme aversion to hot sauce and the color blue ("smurf test").
- Hallucination or nonsensical talk.
- Swelling of salivary glands, but with no increase in saliva production.
- Viral load increases exponentially every few minutes.
- Nanotubular network forms rapidly in the cerebellum, brainstem, neuromuscular system, and skin.
- Potassium buildup occurs in nanotubular storage units ("snuff tubules") close to the SA and AV nodes of the heart. There is also build up of epinephrine in several nanotubular storage units ("recreation tubules") surrounding the heart.
- Massive viral replication may result in rupture of up to 1 percent of cells.
EXPERIMENTAL ANTIVIRAL THERAPY CAN STOP PROGRESSION AND REVERSE VIRAL LOAD TO UNDECTABLE AT THIS POINT BUT:
- Virus is still present by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and still embedded in telomeres.
- Viral is not transferable.
- If you stop antiviral treatment infection recurs.
- Without treatment, infection progresses to coma
- Coma duration is 1-12 hours.
- High dose antiviral treatment can reverse coma, but may result in death.
POST COMA DEATH
Cessation of most EEG activity. Portions of the cerebral cortex become anoxic and die. Technically zombies aren’t completely brain dead they are in a vegetative state, in various degrees.
- Cardiac arrest – Flat line
- Clinical death lasts five minutes to five hours.
- If "rigor mortis" sets in reanimation cannot occur.
- Following reanimation there is variable cerebral function, beating heart zombies may not realize they are undead ("pseudothinkers").
- Neuron aptosis continues to progress in beating heart zombies with loss of higher cognitive function as time goes on (This varies greatly from one beating heart zombie to another).
- Viral titers in saliva progressively increase (salarva).
- Beating Heart Zombies resume normal physiologic functions, but with impaired brain function. Asystole zombies' nanotubular network takes over metabolic functions and supports only essential systems. Autolysis of organs begins in asystole zombies and is used by the nanotubular network for energy.
ZA VIRAL PATHOGENESIS
- Massive replication in the first six hours following bite.
- Formation of nanotubular network, six to forty-eight hours. Network is prominent in cerebellum, brain stem, heart, neuromuscular system, skin and sensory nerves.
- Viral toxic shock occur in twelve to forty-eight hours.
- Massive potassium release by the nanotubular network directly to the heart results in cardiac arrest.
- Nanotubules protect essential cerebellar and brainstem function during this period as the rest of the brain becomes hypoxic and dies.
- Viral chemical defibrillation with epinephrine occurs in 5 to 15 minutes, which sometimes restarts the heart (this may or may not work). If cardioversion does not occur (4 out of 5) an asystole zombie is reanimated in the next 5 hours as the nanotubular network takes over biologic functions.
TWO TYPES OF SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN ZOMBIES
1. Beating heart zombies (aka white zombies)
- Has a heartbeat, but usually with an associated arrhythmia ("bradycardia" – HR less than 60 beats a minute)
BEATING HEART ZOMBIE EKG
ASYSTOLE ZOMBIE EKG
- Brain EEG may range from normal to vegetative state.
- Moves faster than asystole zombies, but typically slower than thinkers.
- May have some initial cognitive function, which declines with time.
- Will bleed when injured.
- There is no decomposition, organs function as normal.
- Eats flesh, needs this for fuel. Preference for brain tissue and intestines as these contain high quantities of serotonin.
- Approximately one out of five zombies will be beating heart zombies.
2. Asystole zombies.
- The heart has stopped, cardiac asystole rhythm on EKG.
- Brain EEG shows a deep vegetative state.
- Nanotubular network supplies nutrients, neuromuscular system, sensory system and skin remains intact, but other organ systems fail. Decomposition and parasitic infections are common.
- No healing from injury.
- No bleeding from injury.
- Moves slowly from about one half to one third normal speed.
- Foul smell.
- Bites only. Does not swallow flesh, but tries to take a scrab.
- Approximately four out of five zombies will be asystole zombies.