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America 2018:

The country has been infected with a parasitic virus that causes two kinds of zombie;

  • Slow but smart zombies where the parasitic virus has not grown to full size. They are slow because blood flow to the limbs is lowered to decrease clotting at the cost of speed.
  • Then there are fast zombies. The parasite is larger and in adolescence compressing memory and risk/reward areas of the brain

    • The high blood flow to the eyes cause the eyes to burst resulting in blindness.
    • The senses of smell, scent and hearing are heightened.
    • Increases in testosterone and adrenaline allow for higher speed.
    • Blood flow is also increased in the limbs allowing for easier movement at the cost of heavier bleeding.

As the parasite grows, the host loses more and more senses while the retaining senses grow stronger. The Parasite allows for infected to use echolocation. If you think this cannot be done https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation

When fully grown only the sense of hearing retains and growths start to emerge from the torso, head, arms which release the virus into the air where it dies after 1-3 minutes.

Notes added for the comments;

  • They are alive, They can get sick, They can bleed to death. Anything that can kill a person can kill a zombie.
  • They can not feel pain and lack a sense of risk, restraint and fear
    -They hunt In packs.
  • If they cannot find a pack they Find be considered prey by packs
  • Packs do not attack other Packs based on instinct but they will rarely ignore this instinct.
  • The reason this instinct works is the same reason chimps won't attack chimps of the same troop, but will attack chimps of other troops.
  • Infected that have growths consider everything prey including other infected and even packs.
  • They evolve through the stages of life depending on the amount of food they get.
  • They do reproduce

In this world, the legend of the zombie does not exist. It can only be transmitted through scratches and bites. Once Infected they last 3-29 hours before the parasite affects the brain.

If this virus occurred. how would it cross oceans?

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  • $\begingroup$ lol, this sounds like The Last Of Us $\endgroup$ – zfrisch Aug 4 '15 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ I know, I have been working on this idea since early 2010 and was inspired by this; Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, And then naughty dog went and made last of us. So I changed it from fungal to parasite among other things $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Aug 4 '15 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ Can you be infected and not know? I know you said it takes 3 hours before the parasite affects the brain, but how long are you sick with effects beforehand? Or does it hit all at once? $\endgroup$ – zfrisch Aug 4 '15 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ You would have a bad headaches and nausea plus twitching towards the end, so probably no. Even if they realized these early warnings telling anyone with headaches or nausea to go to the hospital would only make it spread faster. At the ending of the incubation period it would be like going asleep, you wouldn't be able to tell when it happened. But your friends sure could! $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Aug 4 '15 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ Well then I would assume it would cross like any other illness. Soooo Airplanes. $\endgroup$ – zfrisch Aug 4 '15 at 22:48
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Simple: An infected gets on a ship. The ship sets course for a safe place but the zombies kill the crew. The autopilot continues on course until the ship runs aground at it's destination.

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Another possibility would be to allow non-humans to act as carriers for the virus (even if not harmed by it). That way migrating birds or even sea life could spread it worldwide.

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  • $\begingroup$ Trying for more realism (am I really attempting zombie realism?), if the infection works on humans, the closer the other transmitting species to human the more likely the cause can jump species. So primates first, followed by mammals, followed by warm blooded animals. Zombie fish would be fun but less likely. Or you could do the "Mosquito as a blood born pathogen vector" hand-wave (zombie Nile virus). $\endgroup$ – Mark Ripley May 28 '16 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ It depends on the nature of the pathogen. Virus absolutely you are right but plenty of others are less selective... $\endgroup$ – Tim B May 28 '16 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ And we know virus can jump from human to avian...although usually with a step in the middle $\endgroup$ – Tim B May 28 '16 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ And I was worried about mosquito born Zika or West Nile! I'm never leaving the house in Summer time again! $\endgroup$ – Jim Dec 6 '16 at 4:06
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No virus instantly causes disease; there's always an incubation period. Also, some people are naturally immune.

These two groups are carriers. One of them gets on a plane from London to NYC before symptoms appear, and viola: the pathogen crosses the ocean.

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    $\begingroup$ Typhoid Mary becomes Zombie Bill?!!? Perfect! $\endgroup$ – Jim Dec 6 '16 at 4:03
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Even simpler.

You said, "...release the virus into the air where it dies after 1-3 minutes."

Your virus is destroyed by contact with the air, so it can only be transmitted through bites or direct introduction into the bloodstream.

So, it can travel across oceans because water doesn't kill it, air does.

The virus is able to remain dormant in salt or freshwater until it travels along the ocean jetstreams to another beach, where someone can contract it by cutting their foot (for example) on a rock and the virus being present in the water, infects them directly through the cut.

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The slow smart ones might be smart enough to travel overseas.

from OP:

Slow but smart zombies where the parasitic virus has not grown to full size. They are slow because blood flow to the limbs is lowered to decrease clotting at the cost of speed.

These zombies would not want to progress through the parasite life cycle. They know what they are and they know what is next for them: fastness and stupidness, then growths and death.

The slow smart ones could take boats or even planes where they want to go, depending on how much they remember from their prior lives. They might travel places where it was easier to minimize and regulate food intake to prevent progressing to the next stage. They might travel someplace where they thought they might get help from human doctors or scientists to slow their progression to the advanced stages. They definitely might travel to a relatively unpopulated area of the world to flee organized hunting down of their kind by humans.

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