Sunday, June 3, 2012

Zombies and the CDC

On the heels of several gory news stories, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have issued a statement with regard to a rumored zombie apocalypse. According to the CDC, they know of no virus with the potential to reanimate the dead or one that would present with zombie-like symptoms.  Ordinarily, reading a statement like this from the CDC would make one chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all but due to the immense power of the internet, the rumor that the Miami face-eating man and his newsworthy counterparts are signs of an impending zombie outbreak has quickly become the “next big thing”.

Whether it’s a zombie virus or simply viral zombie stories, one thing is for certain, zombies have become a top trending topic on search engines and social networks like Twitter. With the immense popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead and zombie apocalyptic video games, zombies are the new vampires in America and by the same token, everyone wants to jump on the band wagon and get a piece of the action.  Everyone, including the CDC, has used the zombie craze to ignite new fires on their own agendas and this CDC statement may be aimed more at damage control for the organization than to alleviate the growing concerns of the public. 

In 2011, in an attempt to get the attention of a zombie crazed nation, the CDC released a media kit that included several posters, buttons and widgets depicting zombies and including statements like; “Get a kit, Make a plan, Be prepared”. Another key piece of literature in the kit is a novella entitled; “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic”. The CDC claimed the campaign was all in good fun and was intended to educate the public on natural disaster preparedness stating, if you’re prepared for a zombie pandemic, you will be prepared for any type of disaster. The CDC could never have anticipated that rumors of a zombie apocalypse would go viral just one year later and some at the CDC may be concerned that this “all in fun” media campaign may come back to bite them and infect them with the unemployment virus.

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