This article uses an in-universe perspective.
Necro-Mortosis (corpse/dead), also known by the names "Mortuus Ambulare" (walking dead) and "Corpus Vigere" (active/awake corpse) is a virus alleged to be the cause of Zombification. Necro Mortosis (also known as the Necro Virus) was first discovered in the West Indies - Haiti in 2006. The cause of the virus remains unknown at this point.
Three predominant theories suggest its origin:
- Voodoo (Vodou). Considering the source of the outbreak is Haiti, this first theory is expected. However, no scientific facts support this theory or give it any credibility.
- Viral anmalistic. Possibly a hybrid or chimera virus. Possibly crossed species. If this is the case, It remains unclear how the virus originated or mutated.
- A bi-product of chemical/bacterial warfare. This again seems unlikely. No country or credible terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the virus at this time.
How the Virus Works
In trying to counter the worldwide epidemic of Necro-Mortosis, scientists have undertaken a formidable task. The 'Necro virus' has swiftly become the most extensively studied and yet least understood viruses the world has known, perhaps because it is also one of the most adaptable and elusive.
The key to preventing further widespread growth of the plague is in trying to unlock the genetic code of the virus itself, therefore gaining a greater understanding of how the virus enters human cells. UCLA Professor David Whister recently released a paper in the Scientific Journal of Medicine stating that: 'all viruses consist of a package of genetic material surrounded by a protein and lipid shell. The type A Necro-Mortosis virus consists of 7 proteins and eight strands of ribonucleic acid (RNA), which carry the code for making the proteins.'
To invade a host, the virus shell includes specific proteins that bind to receptors on the outside of red corpuscles. This is how the virus enters the blood stream. The virus is not airborne and cannot bind to air passages (as first thought). The act of binding draws the virus into the cell membrane. It then fuses and moves through it, emerging into the cytoplasm of the cell. Once there, the shell opens, releasing the ribonucleic acid.
The virus then travels quickly throughout the body, reaching all major organs, central nervous system and the brain. Once inside the cerebral cortex, the virus attacks the axons which connect neurons. The axons are surrounded by a fatty insulating sheath called myelin; this is used as an energy source for the virus. It 'feeds' on the myelin. This is what a growing number of scientists now believe tricks the brain to 'believe its body has actually died.' The body then goes through a protracted state of shock, followed by a slow and painful onset of mortification and necrosis. Death occurs within 4-48 hours. However, the brain is still alive. The virus in essence, 'tricks' the brain into killing its own body. But not letting the brain die. The virus feeds nutrients and stimulation to the surrounded brains myelin coating. Thus suspending atrophy of the body, and re-animating the host. The host then needs to gain additional nutrients to continue the feeding of the virus. And so it impulsively searches for food. The source of nutrition required by the virus, aphion A and betax B, is only found in warm blood and meat. Hence the cycle begins: The host needs to kill to serve the virus to keep the host alive. Studies in Berlin, Germany are showing promising results. Antiviral test drugs can interrupt the process by which a virus reproduces at several stages. The inhibitor XL-6, for example, prevents the virus particle from opening after it enters the cell and can inhibit the manufacture of virus proteins. It stops the virus from exiting the cell. Although a lot of money, time and hope has been invested in this new drug, XL-6 is still a long way from being fully developed.
Facts about Necro-Mortosis
- Mortosis is transferable through the exchange of blood, saliva or other bodily fluids, including bites.
- Mortosis can be contracted through sharing of needles
- Virus can be sexually transmitted (if partner is infected)
- There is no known antidote at this point (Beware internet scams claiming to sell cures or inhibitors)
- Mortosis is NOT airborne
- Only infected people will reanimate upon death.
- Non-infected people or people who die of natural causes do NOT rise.
- If bitten, (or otherwise infected) on an arm or leg, severing the affected appendage may remove the infection, but only within the first few minutes of exposure. Burning the affected wound will only act to cauterize the wound, not removing the infection.
- Animals exposed to the Necro-Mortosis virus will become sick and die but do not reanimate. Livestock exposed must be destroyed.
Symptoms of contracted Necro-Mortosis
Upon infection, the exposed usually succumbs to reanimation within 4 - 48 hours. First stage symptoms feel like flu. Migraine, hot flashes, and aching muscles are common.
Second stage is followed by severe chills, extreme lethargy, some disorientation, and a gradual slowing of the heart rate. At this point, many fall into coma or suffer stroke or heart failure. This is due to the massive shock to the bodies immune system. Necrosis and mortification follow soon afterwards. Reanimation can occur within minutes. Studied subjects have nearly always reanimated within the first hour of death
Medical Breakthrough - Hope Found In New Drug
Amcalon Corporation, a Southern Florida based medical manufacturing and research institute released a paper to the Scientific and Medical Journal today. In it they describe a breakthrough in decelerating the onset of Necro-mortosis - the 'Necro' virus.
A company spokesperson said , "The tests are still in their preliminary stages. We need to duplicate the effect in many ways before moving forward with development of a possible vaccine." The paper stated that a human subject was administered the inhibitor referred to as XL6, after it became known that he had contracted the virus. "Typically an exposed person will begin showing signs of decay and mortification within one or two days. This subject was able to offset the effects of Necro-mortosis for seven days. During which time he was in a healthy and stable condition."
Unfortunately, on the seventh day, he developed a severe flu. The virus attacked his central nervous system shortly thereafter. He was terminated on the eighth day.
The spokesperson added "It's a long road ahead. But we do feel confident that a major bridge has been crossed today. This is the first really positive breakthrough to finding a vaccine that science has had in a long time."
Fact Sheet For Health Professionals
Emergency Wound Management
Emergency Wound Management for Healthcare Professionals in the treatment of Necro-Mortosis victims
The risk for injury to both citizens and Healthcare Professionals during and after an undead outbreak is high. Apart from Necro-Mortosis contamination from bites, other problems such as blunt force trauma wounds mental trauma and tetanus have to be contended with. Tetanus is a potential health threat for persons who sustain wound injuries. Tetanus is a serious, often fatal, toxic condition, but is virtually 100% preventable with vaccination. Any wound has the potential for becoming infected with either mortosis and/or tetanus, and should be assessed by a health-care provider as soon as possible.
These principles can assist with wound management and aid in the prevention of amputations. In the wake of a 'Level three' undead outbreak resources are limited. Following these basic wound management steps can help prevent further medical problems.
Ensure that the scene is safe for you to approach the patient, and that if necessary; it is secured by the proper authorities (police, fire, civil defense) prior to patient evaluation. Observe universal precautions, when possible, while participating in all aspects of wound care. Obtain a focused history from the patient, and perform an appropriate examination to exclude additional injuries.
Be vigilant for the presence of other injuries in patients with any wounds. Ensure adequate referral, follow-ups, and reevaluations whenever possible. Dirty water and soil and sand can cause infection. Wounds can become contaminated by even very tiny amounts of dirt.
Puncture wounds can carry bits of clothing and debris into wound resulting in infection.
Crush injuries are more susceptible to infection than wounds from shearing forces.
Guidance for Management of Wound Infections
Most wound infections are due to staphylococci and streptococci. This would likely hold true even in an undead outbreak situation.
For initial antimicrobial treatment of infected wounds, beta-lactam antibiotics with anti-staphylococcal activity (cephalexin, dicloxacillin, ampicillin/sulbactam etc.) and clindamycin are recommended options. Of note, recently an increasing number of community associated skin and soft tissue infections appear to be caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Infections caused by this organism will not respond to treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics and should be considered in patients who fail to respond to this therapy. Treatment options for these community MRSA infections include trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (oral) or vancomycin (intravenous). Clindamycin is also a potential option, but not all isolates are susceptible. Incision and drainage of any subcutaneous collections of pus (abscesses) is also an important component of treating wound infections.