Study: More Research Needed to Prevent Zombie Apocalypse

Every year, the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal features more “light-hearted” peer-reviewed studies. This year’s issue features a study from Kent State University’s Dr. Tara Smith, “Zombie infections: epidemiology, treatment, and prevention.”

Smith’s study relies on fictional cases of zombie infections, but her study highlights real issues surrounding the spread of infectious diseases around the world and our unpreparedness for a disease pandemic.

Smith points out that even if a vaccine could be developed to prevent zombie infections (as vaccines are already available for a host of infectious diseases), “Vaccine hesitancy may make it difficult to achieve society-wide uptake of a zombie vaccine.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Smith pointed out how the recent Ebola outbreak showed how unprepared we are to deal with a pandemic. She told the Post, “We had pretty terrible communications globally — a lot of hype and a lot of misunderstanding. And that was really isolated in just West Africa. If we had something like that but it was globally spread, we’d really be in trouble.”

Though a zombie apocalypse like the Walking Dead isn’t likely, Smith’s study highlights that we need to do more to research and preparation for realistic pandemics that could easily spread around the globe.