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Zombie outbreak would be devastating to humankind: UK researchers

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A real-life zombie outbreak would leave the world’s population in shambles, with less than 300 survivors remaining a mere one hundred days into the apocalypse, according to students from the University of Leicester.

Assuming that a zombie can find one person each day, with a 90 per cent chance of infecting victims with the zombie infection, the students from the University of Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy suggest that by day one hundred there be just 273 remaining human survivors, outnumbered a million to one by zombies.

The students presented their findings in a series of short articles for the Journal of Physics Special Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. The student-run journal is designed to give students practical experience of writing, editing, publishing and reviewing scientific papers.

The student team investigated the spread of a hypothetical zombie virus using the SIR model – an epidemiological model that describes the spread of a disease throughout a population.

The model splits the population into three categories – those susceptible to the infection, those that are infected and those that have either died or recovered. The SIR model then considers the rates at which infections spread and die off as individuals in the population come into contact with each other.

As part of the formula, the students looked at S (the susceptible population), Z (the zombie population) and D (the dead population), suggesting that the average life-cycle of a zombie would be S to Z to D.

They also examined the time frame over which individuals in the population encounter one another.

Read more at University of Leicester