The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention posted a blog on Monday titled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, tells citizens how to prepare for “flesh eating zombies”. I’m serious. Here’s an excerpt from the provocative post:
There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.
Clearly, this is an attempt by the CDC to get readers to their site, to learn a bit about disaster preparedness. It is very clever marketing, not meant to be taken seriously.
The post begins with the above image and paragraph, then goes on to give a brief history of zombies in popular culture and history. Weird. Then it proceeds to discuss ways to be prepared for a Zombie outbreak or some other disaster. The post states:
So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored).
I don’t know about you, but I find this kind of odd. Do I believe they are trying to subliminally tell us that zombies could soon be beating down our doors in a desperate hunt for our very brains? No. But I do think that with recent fears regarding radiation poisoning from the nuclear disaster in Japan, and in light of the deadly weather we’ve been experiencing both here in the United States and abroad, the cheeky tone seems a bit strange.
Generally, we expect Government agencies to be a bit more somber in such matters. I guess they felt the issue was important enough to warrant loosening their ties in order to gain a larger audience, and spread some emergency awareness.
What strikes me as particularly bizarre, is that toward the end of the post, the CDC feels the need to tell us what they would do if there really were to be a zombie apocalypse. Oh yes. They’ve apparently thought this through.
If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work).
What do you think? Was this an appropriate way for a Government agency to address a serious topic such as emergency preparedness? Funny or in poor taste?