Trible (tamtrible) wrote in little_details,

Some questions about hospital procedure and zombies...

Patient Zero of the zombie epidemic is an elderly woman with some form of severe dementia (and probably with AIDS or some other immune disorder, the zombification agent is a brain fungus). She dies, and the fungus activates, animating her. So, as far as doctors can tell, she has none of the usual life signs that they check for (pulse, brain waves, and whatnot), but she's moving around, and apparently awake and aware. She's also trying to bite people if she can get to them, but she's slow, and basically incapable of tool use, even door knobs. If she does not get any meat (or adequate synthetic equivalent) for a week or 2, the fungus will start to digest her body instead, and after a month or so she'll just be dead (and skeletal-looking). (these are scientific zombies, not magical ones)

What I'm trying to figure out:
1. What would the hospital *do* after she started trying to chew on people?
2. How long do you think it would take doctors to figure out that she was a zombie, rather than simply having some unusual medical symptoms?
3. Is there anything they'd be likely to do (before they figured out that she was a zombie) that would be likely to kill her? Zombies can be killed by sufficiently strong antifungals (doses that would probably kill a human), or sufficient trauma to the head (they use the brain as architecture, without it they're no smarter than any other fungus), or extremes of heat/cold/radiation/etc that would also probably kill a living human.
4. Any guesses on how many people Patient Zero would manage to infect before she died (re-died, whatever)? The zombie pathogen can spread through fluid-to-fluid contact (sexual, saliva-to-blood, blood-to-blood, including getting either on cuts), and it's possible she was contagious, and combative, before she died the first time.
5. Infected (living) people have no obvious symptoms, but the fungus can probably be found on brain scans or the like (or by spores in the blood, but those probably wouldn't be detectable 'til we knew to look for them). Do you think it's likely that any/many of the people she infected would discover this fact before they died?
6. Is there anything you can think of that would either make a newly dead body a better agent for fungal growth, or trigger/mark death to the fungus? The fungus grows pretty slowly, except in newly dead bodies.

If you know either the answers, or a better source for me to figure out the answers on my own, either would help.

edit: forgot to include location (it's the US, somewhere, unless somewhere else works much better for what I want), and research done (not much, beyond a vague google with terms like "what would hospitals do in case of zombies", I'm not quite sure how to search this one)

Clarification: The zombie fungus does *not* kill you. You could be infected for years, with no symptoms. It's only when you *die* that the fungus activates. Well, and you have to die of something besides massive head trauma, or any of the other things that can kill a "live" zombie.

So. Basically, what I'm trying to get here is 1. patient 0 infects a few people, 2. they, unaware, infect several others, 3. at some point, an infected person dies in the presence of a lot of dying or recently dead people (probably a plane crash), and infects all of them, 4. that's enough zombies to form a hive mind with human level intelligence, and 5. said hive mind infects a critical mass of other people, then reveals herself to the world...

Can I get that with the start I have here?
Tags: usa: health care and hospitals, ~zombies

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