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Published On: Wed, Oct 30th, 2013

‘Walking Dead’ flu: Used to thin out the Woodbury cast?

As season four moves along, you had to wonder if the prison population would continue at such high numbers after the arrival of the Woodbury people.

Season 4 preview by producer Gale Anne Hurd

Season 4 preview by producer Gale Anne Hurd

It appears that some type of infectious disease outbreak may be the writers key to thinning out the crowd.

The microorganism appears to be contracted via a airborne route, contracted through the respiratory system with the symptoms of fever and coughing up blood most prominent.

A hint of the source of the outbreak in the season opener to me was the death of the large pig that Rick was tending to.

A couple of things first came to mind–first was  tuberculosis. This bacterial disease can be present in pigs as bovine tuberculosis and can be transmitted to humans. The symptoms of fever and coughing up blood fit the story.

However, the incubation time in the story seems too short and people would have to be in very close contact with infected animals in order for transmission to occur.

The other thing that crossed my mind was some virulent swine flu variant.

Most commonly, human infections with variant viruses occur in people with exposure to infected pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). There have been documented cases of multiple persons becoming sick after exposure to one or more sick pigs and also cases of limited spread of variant influenza viruses from person-to-person.

Because the incubation time for swine flu is days rather than weeks or months, it makes for a more obvious choice.

Of course the writers may have decided on something else or a fictional virus, but since the initial infection that causes the zombieism is fictional, I tend to believe they’d go realistic.

Some things to watch for in upcoming episodes:

  1. Are they really going to allow Glenn to die at this point in the series? I think not.
  2. What will happen to Hershel? As you may recall, he did get a face full of blood and respiratory secretions while tending to Caleb, or Dr. S.
  3. Herchel is not a young guy, in fact he is at the age where influenza is even that more deadly–the very young and the very old.
  4. Will the medicine run ever turn up anything useful? Right now it appears that Daryl, Michonne and the others are just trying to survive the onslaught of “walkers”.

In addition, I’m not sure how much medical training Carol received from Hershel, but something in her told her that the infected people were such a risk to the rest, she chose to torch them.

Just waiting for Sunday.

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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