Trible (tamtrible) wrote in little_details,

Some questions about death and infection rates

time: nowish; place: in the general vicinity of Washington and Oregon, at least initially

I'm trying to confirm that I'm getting reasonable figures for death rates, and trying to find rates of infection, so I can construct a timeline for my zombies--I have a zombie fungus that 1. only zombifies you once you die from something else, and 2. only spreads by fairly direct fluid-to-fluid contact (kissing, biting, sex).

I'm getting numbers suggesting that around 8 people out of 1000 die every year, so I'm guessing it'd be rare to go more than about a month, maybe 2, without someone dying out of 1000 infected people. Though, if it makes a difference, if you die in such a way that your head and torso are not still more or less physically intact (eg if you're decapitated), you won't become a zombie (but I'm *guessing* deaths like that are fairly rare, at least outside a war zone or something).

Using search terms like "how fast does a fluid-transmitted illness spread" and "how many people does a fluid-transmitted illness infect", I'm not finding reasonable figures for, well, starting from patient 0, how many people would be infected within a month to a year. This fungus (because plot) does not spread well except by direct fluid-to-fluid contact. You're not going to get sick from, eg, spores left on a door-handle (unless the door handle was actually wet with the other person's fluids, then you immediately stuck your fingers in your mouth or rubbed your eyes or something, or you cut yourself on the handle). It probably spreads a faster than an STD, but not a *whole* lot faster (how many people do you kiss on the mouth?)

My.. ballpark guess is that there would be at most a few thousand people infected within a couple of months, at which point the first zombie besides patient 0 is formed. A few weeks later, we get our second known zombie, with subsequent zombies coming at a slightly increasing rate thereafter (as the infection continues to spread). There will be a major uptick when someone starts *deliberately* spreading the infection (the first zombie hive, formed after a plane crash shortly after the first known zombie), but some of those won't be detected as zombies (for reasons that will be a bit complicated to explain now).

Does anyone who knows about this sort of thing think my figures sound about right, or have better ones? (if it happens *too* quickly, I'll need to make the plane crash happen before the first known zombie, so my hive has time to establish itself)
(edited to add cuts)
Tags: ~medicine: illnesses: infectious (misc), ~zombies

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