Hi guys, after doing some article research here I want to tell you how real is the threat of this kind of outbreak in real life (apart from the game as inspiration).
Clearly for now, there is no threat at all, but what disturbing is that there are no assurance that there wont be any outbreak like the one happened in TLoU. So here we go:
Cordyceps: ok, this is real parasitic fungus that grows on its host tissue, some may alter the host behaviour but some arent. I think most of you knows already if you done the research abt this fungus (bcos of TLOU of course). And yeah fungi can and able to stay and jump from animals to human, but for now afaik cordyceps dont infect human.
So does cordyceps have effect on human? Yes, it does, it is consumed "widely" as food and medicine. Which means at this moment, the effect is actually benefiting human. But yes it does affect human in some way.
So there is no other threat abt a parasite altering human behaviour, right? Unfortunately, there is.
It is not cordyceps fungi, one of the worth noting parasite is called Toxoplasma Gondii. I‘ll put the relevant excerpt from Wikipedia here:
Found worldwide, T. gondii is capable of infecting virtually all warm-blooded animals. In humans, it is one of the most common parasites...... A number of studies have suggested subtle behavioral or personality changes may occur in infected humans, and infection with the parasite has recently been associated with a number of neurological disorders, particularly schizophrenia. However, evidence for causal relationships remains limited.
Researching further, the infected human does showing aggressive behaviour symptoms, again from Wikipedia of Toxoplasmosis (the name of the disease):
Recent research has also linked toxoplasmosis with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.Numerous studies found a positive correlation between latent toxoplasmosis and suicidal behavior in humans.
Again, the zombie-style disease spread via bite is fictious right? Unfortunately nope, there is a disease that infect human via bites, and interestingly also altering human behaviour. The name is Rabies. It's a virus.
And uh, National Geographic starts its review with these words: Though dead humans can't come back to life, certain viruses can induce such aggressive, zombie-like behavior.
My thought is, although it is not likely caused by a cordyceps alone, outbreak IS a possibility, it only needs time until rabies-gondii-cordyceps mutating and infect human. And let's hope it's not happening in near future.
Sorry if this is already discussed somewhere, and btw outbreak is only one month away lol. This is only a discussion, no purpose to spread fear or anything. Pls share me your thoughts.
Your post is interesting Mikey. Yea I think other people have talked about this before. And unless it's really happening we shouldn't fear. Yes, infections and diseases can affect our psychology. Heck, even medications have side effects that do that. The Spanish Flu killed 50-100 million people, so humanity has experienced outbreaks before. Toxoplasmosis though is rare because most people develop immunity to it. And the side effects don't cause us to attack people and destroy our world. I guess the protozoan can evolve though. And with rabies, the host dies shortly after it comes in contact with humans. Wild animals that are normally shy towards humans will attack people once infected, but human beings don't attack when infected with rabies. These are good examples of viruses and species that can cause erratic behavior but their symptoms don't include attacking other humans. In the book and movie World War Z they thought the outbreak was rabies, so it's interesting how you brought that up because rabies directly affects the brain and nervous system. Rabies usually doesn't spread because people don't instinctually bite one another. A symptom is agitation but we don't bite as a means of defense - we have evolved from that. And by the time symptoms show up, we die and doctors will restrain them until they go into a coma should they become very violent. And the article mentions how two vastly unrelated species can't hybridize, so for rabies to join up with the flu (to make is spreadable) is highly unlikely. Once again, the rabies virus just stops at the bite. I read somewhere though that, the rabies virus is airborne but it's uncommon for it to spread to humans that way, hence why it's not a pandemic. But should it develop traits like the flu then it could make it a lot easier to contract, but we know that the two species are too different to hybridize and share traits like that. According to the Humane Society,
The rabies virus is short-lived when exposed to open air—it can only survive in saliva and dies when the animal’s saliva dries up.
So rabies IS airborne, but it's so sensitive that it dies shortly after it reaches the air and it mostly spread through bites.
And the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety says,
"The virus is not infectious if it is dried out or exposed to sunlight."
The rabies virus has infected workers in caves where the virus hangs out in the air. In this environment, the air is moist and it's dark - the perfect habitat for the rabies virus. Once again, the virus is contained in mucous and droplets can get into the eyes, nose, and mouth.
As with all zombie movies/games/shows, the infection seems to be sudden and what causes a downfall of humanity is that they become overrun with the infected - any disease would have to cause an immediate transformation of its host. The rabies virus alone - even if it were to become airborne - has a long incubation period in humans and the infected can be vaccinated to prevent it from spreading. Now, should the rabies virus mutate to where no vaccine could be made? That's another story.. but like we established, the rabies virus would have to come up with its own mutation to withstand sunlight and drying out AND being able to spread like the flu.
Other sources say, "perhaps the most frightening potential method of rabies transmittion is through the air (aerosol transmission). It's extremely rare; in fact, there is only one documented case of it happening outside of a laboratory environment. It occurred in a cave that is believed to have housed tens of millions of infected bats. The virus became airborne through the oral and nasal discharges of the rabid animals, infecting several people who entered the cave. But again, this method of transmission is almost unheard of. In fact, the CDC states that it takes 'extraordinary circumstances' for aerosol transmission of the rabies virus to occur."
Once again, with rabies, even if it was airborne, people would contract it and then they would die within a few days to a week. In TLOU, the fungus has a long transformation period of its host (runner > clicker > bloater). What makes a fungus so likely to cause a zombie-like pandemic is that a.) a fungus can be an airborne parasite b.) it requires the host to be alive for a long enough period of time to incubate it and spread it (with the flu people are too sick to move and attack and people can take precautions to avoid it and with rabies you die shortly after the virus becomes contagious in the body) c.) it controls the hosts mind (much like rabies does). Rabies infects mammals and so there's evidence that dogs and wild animals will attack once they show signs of rabies, but with the fungus in ants and stuff it doesn't cause them to attack. So I guess the ultimate hybridization for an illness that could cause a zombie-like apocalypse would be like, rabies + fungus. But if the fungus could take over the brain and cause it to attack people, then it wouldn't need traits from the rabies virus. The advantage that fungus has over rabies is that it's airborne and fungi is already responsible for many different ailments like rabies is (Valley Fever, Athlete's Foot, Ring Worm, and yeast infections). However with Valley Fever it's not transmissable - the spores are inhaled, so a bite from someone with Valley Fever will not give another person the disease. Cryptoccocal meningitis is also caused by a fungus but also can't be spread through bite. Rabies has the advantage over fungus of, first of all, being able to compromise the human nervous system the way it does (causing animals to attack - no fungal infection has caused an animal to attack), and being able to spread through bite.
I don't think so. If rabies can't develop traits from the flu (they're both viruses) then a virus certainly cannot mutate or hybridize with a fungus. A virus first of all isn't alive, but a fungus is and they're far off from each other on the evolutionary chain.
I don't think it could happen at all :P A virus isn't alive and it would take millions of years of evolution for that jump from virus-to-fungus to happen if EVER. And obviously it hasn't been happening sooooo yeah.
The biggest problem whcih none of you have mentioned is the collapse of soceity. For those whom have played the game they will have seen the intro credits first: "The number of comfirmed deaths has passed two hundred. The governor is calling a state of emergecy," Now this and the intro is showing us that the United States governent have barely a clue about whats causing this pandemic and road closures is causing more and more to get infected. This is phase 1. Phase two, "Panic spread worldwide after a leaked report from the World Heath Organisation showed that the latest vaccination tests have failed," . This means the Pandemic has spread throught U.S and is causing politicians to take action but still millons are still geting infected and the politicions may have to take a diffrent course of action. Thats phase 2, Phase 3: " With the Bueaucrates out of power we can finally take the steps to.." the annoucation of Martail law and raised power to FEDRA. For those whom may npt know what martail law is, its a state or territory controlled by the millatry or in this case FEDRA. This is showing the government is scared and can't do anything at all so they decide to let FEDRA deal with this. Thats phase 3, phase 4: " Riots haved continued fro a third conecutive day and winter raitons are at an old time low,". This is pointing out food is low and siecne no quartined farms ( The cordeyocep fungi comes from farm crops) means no bread but animals are running low so low meat. In additon riots this is showing a collpase to society and the insecurity is not helping. Plus evreyone is now in quartine zones. Thats phase 4, Phase 5: " A group calling themselves fireflies have claimed reposability for both attacks,". Uh-Oh, a inserecttionist group fighting aginst FEDRA and want all branches of the Government brought back. This means fireflies are fighting the government itself for it was disbanded for a reason and will keep attacking for nought. This measns more and more quarntine zones shall fall for no reason, a further collpase of society. As phase 6 comes demonstations and exicutions bring us back to the time of Imperalism. This is the problem with the outbreak the fall of scoiety and infrastutre which cannot be rebuilt. Phase 7: The infected are the only ones left on planet Earth for the fireflies have compromised the Quarantine zones and millatry fallen. WHich mean there are no safe places and no-one working on a cure.
I kinda have to agree with the prophetoftruth123 up there, we do have a society that depends on another thing, For instance, The first day of the infection, hospitals will be filled with people, there will soon be people being denied medical treatment, the next day, the army will take notice of this and set up roadblocks and Quarantine Zones, after the Roadblocks and Q.Z.s are set up, and if everyone is required to go there you have no food, no oil, no medicine, and no supplies being delivered to different places, worst part after that, no electricity, no clean water, people will take notice to this, at first they can think the whole normal "Oh just a normal power out" but when they realize that they open the tap and nothing is coming out, they realize what's to come. After that, the looters will come, they will loot anyone and any where for food, medicine, supplies and anything of the sort, This will happen with in a week to two week period... Now in my opinion, I dont think the military will hold the zones for to long, probably a year to two years, then they will begin to leave zone's. Retreating back to different base's around the country.
Gah it's difficult for me to copy and paste, so I shall type it out. I got this information from webmd.com.
Cordyceps is used to treat coughs, chronic brochitis, respiratory disorders [kind of ironic since, cordyceps in the game when inhaled can transform you into an Infected :P] kidney disorders, nighttime urination, male sexual problems, anemia, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, liver disorders, dizziness, weakness, ringing in the ears, unwanted weight loss, and opium addiction.
It is also used for strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging, promoting longer life, and improving liver function in people with hepatitis B.
Some people use cordyceps as a stimulant, a tonic, and an "adaptogen," which is used to increase energy, enhance stamine, and reduce fatigue.
Cordyceps might improve immunity by stimulating cells and specific chemicals in the immune system [therefore is may strengthen the immune system much like vitamin C does]. It may also have activity against cancer cells and may shrink tumor size, particularly with lung or skin cancers.