CDC explains how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse

The US Centers for Disease Control have published their plan for keeping America safe during a zombie uprising. It's an exercise in general disaster preparedness, and a clever way of getting people engaged in keeping themselves and their communities safe in the event of unexpected bad stuff.
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).
Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

(Image: Zombie Walk 2010 - Curitiba, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nivaldoarruda's photostream)


  1. If we learned anything from the Walking Dead, the CDC isn’t too much help… At least they’re working on resolving that :-)

  2. Of course if you read Mira Grant’s “Feed”, the CDC might be the only thing that keeps the government running after an outbreak.

  3. Or is you believe Mira Grant’s “Feed”, they are the branch of the government with the most to gain from the Zombapocalyse.

  4. Ah, come on now. You know they’d do what any government agency would do:

    1. Analyze problem, taking way too long to figure out anything useful.
    2. Allow problem to spread.
    3. PROFIT!
    4. Resort to last hope, kill it with fire.

    You know, or something like that.

  5. I believe that this is the first recorded instance of a U.S. government website being brought down by the Digg effect. (Of course, Digg seems to have been superseded by Facebook and Twitter in this regard.)

    Also, after last night’s post about the Secret Service Twitter account (which admittedly was a lapse in professionalism), it’s good to see that the government does have a sense of humor after all.

  6. The CDC would be helpful in a zombie attack, but not quite sufficient. What we need is something like a CDC-Army Ranger hybrid organization. Scientists with access to heavy firepower.

    1. How do you know they aren’t already there? Think about the whole “Special Operations” and “Surgical Strike” phrases…

  7. Hee. NASA Goddard actually ran a Zombie attack contingency planning workshop RPG last Fall.
    Nothing like “ZOMG BRAIN EATING ZOMBIES!” to get you to make a decision fast.
    This fall our theme with the Zombie RPG is making quick decisions on very little, incomplete, and possibly outright wrong information. Ultimately, stressing individual responsibility in emergent situations.

    I’m all for more Zombification of the workplace [in government!]. It lets/forces people think outside of the “But somebody has a policy for that… I don’t need to pay any attention till my boss says so” realm.

    1. TSE: This blog post from the CDC may have been inspired by AMC TV’s “The Walking Dead” from last fall, where in the final episode of the season the survivors of the zombie apocalypse arrive at the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta looking for help. I guess the real-life CDC wants to make sure it is better prepared for this catastrophe than the fictional version was.

  8. At least all this “zombie apocalypse” nonsense will have us prepared when hordes of climate refugees will come pounding on our door.

  9. I’m glad that the CDC is waking up to the danger, but their plan is wildly optimistic. The only way to treat a zombie is with a bullet to the head, and there’s no suggestion that people arm themselves to do so.

  10. This is a REALLY good article, and I heartily applaud the CDC for putting it together.

    Because the real focus isn’t Zombies at all. The zombies are a funny trojan horse for something that people should be doing already but never ever do, and that’s putting together disaster plans and emergency equipment. They tell you to keep basic first aid equipment and supplies handy and make plans for escape routes and meeting places – those are good tips for ANY kind of emergency.

    The zombies are the hook, and the emergency safety tips that you would otherwise ignore are the meat. Even if you never implement these, it will probably stick in your head and you’ll have a better idea what things you need to gather and what actions to take should an emergency actually occur.

    Whoever thought this up deserves a pay raise and a promotion.

  11. This article completely failts to mention shotguns. The CDC is ill prepared for zombies without them. They should start stocking up now.

    1. Uthor: As viewers of “The Walking Dead” know, a crossbow makes a far better weapon to take down a zombie than does a firearm. Because as zombies are attracted to noise, firing a gun at one simply draws more zombies towards you. Eventually you’ll just be overwhelmed by them. A crossbow, on the other hand, is silent. Moreover, you won’t run out of ammunition with the crossbow, assuming you are able to retrieve your arrows after using them.

  12. Aw, c’mon, this is just typical government-sanctioned racism. Zombies aren’t a disease, they’re people!


  13. You know, we’re actually pretty good at killing slow-moving stupid things with no sense of self preservation. Virus style zombies wouldn’t really be all that much of a threat.

    Now proper zombies – the ones without viruses and where headshots don’t help – those are trouble.

  14. I don’t mean to sound like a wet blanket, but when is all this zombie shit going to die?

    1. quickbrownfox: The salient fact about zombie shit is that it is already dead, so it can’t die, unlike the non-zombie kind.

  15. I got accidentally punked by a public television on mute today. All I saw was a newscaster looking serious followed by the caption “live” and some pretty convincing footage from the above mentioned CDC event. Before my rational brain took over I was horribly dismayed and found myself thinking, “Shit! My zombie-preparedness plan did not account for summer stock in Iowa!”
    I am both relieved and oddly disappointed that the zombiepocalypse is not upon us and will be re-evaluating my survival plan to include remote farmhouse theatres in Iowa.

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