Viruses and the Zombie Effect

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Zombies

In recent times, people have seen zombie gain popularity in public health and in the media. Zombies got into the health circuit in early March 2011 not long after the Tohoku Earthquake in Japan (Nasiruddin, Melissa et al.). Since that time, the media has done well to educate people about the infection. However, there are still a lot of people that are sceptical about the truthfulness of the information shared on the media. In the case of caterpillars, the information that the media shared is credible. Experts from the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency claim that there exists a single gene that allows a virus that brainwashes caterpillars to carry out its dirty deeds. Notably, the virus forces the caterpillar to climb trees whereby the invader eventually liquefies its host's body into a dripping goo. When this caterpillar eventually dies, it usually undergoes a natural liquefaction process whereby its skeleton disintegrates (New Scientist).

According to the study done by Institute for Research and Development in France, it was discovered that the virus makes the caterpillar behave like a real bodyguard to protect the parasite (Handwerk, Brian). For instance, in the video (New Scientist), it is clearly seen that the caterpillar is protecting the wasp cocoon from the beetle unlike in the first part of the clip before it was affected by the parasitic warps. All the experiments showed the behavioral change is only beneficial to the wasp. Therefore, the caterpillar’s behavior may be described as a zombie since the virus is controlling the hosts brain hence scientifically valid.

On the other hand, zombie snails have also been affected by the parasite that controls their brains and movements. In the video, the snail looks funny. This is so because it has been infected by the virus called green banded brood sac (Nat Geo WILD). This is a brilliant ploy to help the parasite's offspring spread and endure. The parasite has total control of the snail’s brain and instructing the doomed gastropod “zombie snail” to climb to the tops of the tree. It is scientifically valid since it has been proved that the virus can interfere with the host's body functions especially the brain system.

In conclusion, parasitic zombies have the ability to control and modify the behavior and physiology of the host to guarantee its breeding. For instance, in both cases, it is clearly evidenced that the virus has taken control of the caterpillar as well as the snail. It is scientifically valid that the virus uses this host for protection.

Works Cited

Nasiruddin, Melissa et al. "Zombies—A Pop Culture Resource For Public Health Awareness". Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol 19, no. 5, 2013, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), doi:10.3201/eid1905.ad1905.

Pecos, Hugo, and Robert Lomax. "The Science Of Zombism". Fvza, http://www.fvza.org/zscience2.html.

New Scientist. "Zombie Caterpillar Controlled By Voodoo Wasps". 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UkDMrG6tog&feature=youtu.be.

Handwerk, Brian. "How "Zombie" Virus Liquifies Caterpillar Hosts". National Geographic News, 2011, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/09/110908-zombie-virus-caterpillars-science-weird-animals/.

Nat Geo WILD. "Zombie Snails | World's Deadliest". 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go_LIz7kTok&feature=youtu.be.

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