• Question: is there any sort of virius that could turn humans into zombie like animals?

    Asked by rseymour7nrl to David, Jonathan, Pete, Sam on 8 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Pete Etchells

      Pete Etchells answered on 8 Jul 2012:

      The short answer to this is ‘no’ – there isn’t a zombie virus out there that can reanimate dead people like we see in the movies. There are, however, a couple of alternative answers to your question.

      One is that you could, in theory, be really unlucky and contract a group of viruses that in total would resemble a zombie virus. One good contender would be rabies – in some cases, this can cause extremely aggressive behaviour, biting, confusion, agitation and delirium. However, there’s no virus out there that could bring you back to life.

      Second, we know of at least one parasite that can induce zombie-like symptoms – but in wasps, not humans. Xenos vesparum is a type of fly that infects certain types of European wasps, and completely changes their behaviour to essentially do the bidding of the fly. They use the wasps almost like little cars, effectively driving them around so that they can find other infected wasps so that the flies can reproduce. Thankfully, there’s no chance of them infecting us!