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Are we in danger of a zombie apocalypse? Reuters

THE WORLD IS FACING IMMINENT DANGER FROM ZOMBIES AND WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT PREPARED! Not quite, but the latter is true that we are unprepared if a zombie apocalypse breaks out.

In a tongue-in-cheek research paper for the Christmas issue of BMJ, Tara Smith, an associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Kent State University in Ohio, argues that although chances of a zombie outbreak are extremely slim and probably impossible, there isn't enough in place to protect us. She takes examples from zombie movies and analyses them for the point of her 'research'.

She says that all the potential zombie viruses share a similar trait – they are spread via bite, and looks at the Solanum virus, as popularised by Hollywood blockbuster World War Z, starring Brad Pitt. "It has a 100% mortality rate, and if exposed to fluids of an infected individual, zombification is certain," Smith writes.

Similar diseases, which don't have a zombification effect, include a form of the Black Plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, the cordyceps fungus, and a mutated strain of the prion infection known as mad cow disease, which we are not prepared for, Smith implies. All of these can wreak havoc on society.

However, jovially talking about zombification and the documentation of such atrocities in Hollywood, she says that the multiple zombie pathogens depicted in films "should be a wake-up call to the international community that we need additional funding and cooperation to address these looming apocalyptic disease threats." At this point, IBTimes UK would like to remind you that this is tongue-in-cheek, with underlying tones of truthfulness.

Referring to the Zombie Survival Guide 2003 – which reads "At this rate, attacks will only increase, culminating in one of two possibilities. The first is that world governments will have to acknowledge, both privately and publicly, the existence of the living dead, creating special organizations to deal with the threat. In this scenario, zombies will become an accepted part of daily life – marginalized, easily contained, perhaps even vaccinated against. A second, more ominous scenario would result in an all-out war between the living and the dead..."

Smith concludes: "We must ensure that the latter scenario does not occur, and that we work together as a unified global community to respond quickly to any and all new zombie threats."