The better half of Custodi Exitus was sick over the weekend with a very bad cold. So, we’ve been shut in all weekend playing games and watching YouTube. As I am sure you have experienced, YouTube can be a rabbit hole. One video leads to the next, and the next, and suddenly, you are watching a video you probably would have never even thought to look up.
This exact situation is how I stumbled upon rabies. And after reading up on it I can completely see where a lot of our zombie fears come from and how prevalent the fear is across a ton of mediums. Movies like Cujo, books like, Rant and games like, Left for Dead. Hell, any zombie material is basically rabies. Countless movies and shows have been made around rabies or infections that are very close to rabies.
So why all of this fear over this disease? It’s 2017; there is nothing to fear from something like rabies right? Not so fast, because this shit is crazzzy. And just this week there was a massive recall of bagged salad sold at a Florida Walmart because a bat was found inside of the package! “The customers had already eaten some of the bag of Fresh Express’ Organic Marketside Spring Mix before discovering the creature in a “deteriorated condition,” the CDC said in a press release on Saturday. ” YUM! Here is the link to the article.
Ok, so what is the big deal? Well, lets get into the scary nature of the disease. “An estimated 59,000 people die from rabies worldwide each year, almost all infected by dogs.” Once you are bit by an infected mammal, you become infected with this zoonotic disease. Here is where it gets frightening…If you are not treated with a rabies vaccine before it reaches your brain, the chances of death in humans is 100%. Once you see neurological symptoms, it’s already too late. Nothing can save you. You can’t take an antibiotic or reverse anything. No! This scares the shit out of me personally because of my attitude towards medical care. Generally, I wouldn’t go to the doctor unless I was really sick. If you took that approach to this disease and you just wait it out to see if that bite becomes infected you are playing a risky game.
How rabies was spread in one case: “Muhingira’s oldest daughter, Asha, was bitten on her leg by a dog as she walked to school. Gazing vacantly into the distance, Muhingira says that after she saw the deep wound, she called a motorbike taxi and rushed 7-year-old Asha to the hospital. The staff only gave her a tetanus injection, because the dog’s owner said it had been protected against rabies.
In early October, Asha told her mother that her healed leg was aching. Two days later, when she became feverish and had trouble swallowing, her mother took her to the hospital. It was rabies. The owner of the dog had lied about its vaccination. A few hours before she died, Asha, delirious, thought she saw her school teacher and called out: “I’m healed. I want to go home.”
Later in the day, Lugalo says that such stories take an emotional toll—he recently became a father himself. During the interview, however, he’s all business. He asks how much Muhingira spent on the hospital visit. Then he asks about the dog. It had bitten another child, Muhingira says.” Link to full article.
Now, there are a few exceptions to the death from rabies being inevitable. There actually have been a few cases of people who have gotten rabies who managed to live! Here is a link to a really cool Wired article that follows two survivors. The story is really interesting and worth a read. WIRED LINK But cases like that are extreme exceptions. They managed to stop the progression of rabies after initial symptoms showed up by putting the children into medically induced comas. After they came out of their comas they had to relearn how to move their bodies again.
Of course, thinking of rabies has my paranoia level so high. My mind anxiously wanders back to a few months ago… when CE had a run in with a very angry raccoon. Let me set the stage. I hear scratching coming from outside of our house. So I investigate. Something is in our trash can. What do I find in there but a greased up raccoon at the bottom of our garbage bin. How he got in there with the lid on, I do not know. But he was stuck, and there was a trash bag stuck around his little foot. So, I of course had to save him. I tip over the can and he scuttles out. But I see that he has this trash bag twisted onto his leg and he is going to die with this thing dragging him down. So…I do the stupid thing and I run in the house, Grab a towel, a knife, and Matt trying to catch this hissing thing to cut the bag off of him. He wanted to bite us. He tried to countless times. We could have gotten bitten but it worked. The raccoon was free. But thinking back now, situations like that can be dangerous. I love animals, I pet stray cats, I love em. Now knowing what I know about rabies it’s kind of risky though! Getting infected with rabies in the United States is incredibly rare, but it happens. I had a coworker who stopped to help a baby fox on the side of the road and had to get a round of rabies shots. So it’s definitely a real thing.
One of the other really horrifying parts of this whole disease is the hydrophobia. The disease starts like this, you will have flu like symptoms, sometimes the bite wound will tingle and itch. Oh, and get this…once the disease progresses further, your body will not let you drink water. I watched a few videos of humans with rabies and it’s heartbreaking. I can’t even bring myself to link them… In the videos, a patient will have a glass of water and the closer they come to drinking it, the more their body revolts against drinking it. Their hands shake, their chest heaves, and they are clearly in distress and it’s horrifying. If they attempt to push past that and drink the water they usually choke it up. Their whole bodies are revolting against the liquid. So why would the virus want it’s host to be dehydrated? Rabies is spread through saliva glands. The more liquid in your system the more thinned out your saliva will be, and the less concentrated the virus will be. So the damn virus does everything it can to stop you from drinking. It’s horrifying. The foaming from the mouth is a real thing in humans and in animals.
There are two main sides to the symptoms. Furious rabies is where you will see the aggression and the hyper jerky movements. This will be accompanied by the hydrophobia and eventually cardiac arrest. Your brain is no longer able to regulate breathing, salivating, and heart rate. So, victims drown in their own spit or blood because their brain is too damaged to control essential life functions. The second form is paralytic rabies. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Muscles slowly paralyze, starting at the bite zone and moving outwards.
Human to human spread is extremely rare. But there have been cases of people getting it through organ transplant, or even through breathing in someone’s sneeze. That zombie crap is sounding more and more realistic.
Bats seem to be the most likely vector for animal to human transmission in the United States. In Asia and Africa, the feral dog population is responsible for the death tolls there. It’s advised that if you come into contact with a bat, or wake up to a bat in your house or tent you should get the fuck out of there. Burn your house down, then look for bite marks, and flush the area with water and get your ass to the doctor. No fucking around.
With all of this crazy info on rabies and how frightening it is, it’s not surprising that so many video games are centered around zombies or rabbid hordes of people. The genre has reached massive over-saturation with zombie games. Dying Light, Resident Evil, Zombie Army Trilogy, ZombiU, Dead Island, Dead Rising, the Walking Dead the list goes on and on. In 2017 alone, we have Days Gone and State of Decay 2, a new Walking Dead game, Resident Evil 7 and I am sure there are more! So no matter how bored you are of the zombie genre it’s clear that diseases like rabies fuel some pretty deep fears. And I, for one am never going to look at a bat or a bag of salad the same way again. On a serious note, get your animals vaccinated!
What are some of your irrational fears? How many more zombie games can you think of? Let us know on twitter @custodiexitus. Happy Monday!