( Josella Chrysalids-Harris-CNN) The CDC says it is tracking a new strain of so-called “zombie flu,” serotype H1Z1, which it describes as “highly virulent” and which presents with “rabies-like symptoms.”An unidentified H1Z1 zombie flu victim, moments before she was siezed by health authorities.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they are uncertain where and when the new strain, believed to be a fast-spreading mutation of the H1N1 swine flu, first occurred, but says they are taking the matter very seriously.
“We’re seeing a dramatic rise in reported cases of the new H1Z1 flu virus over the last thirty-six hours,” said Hector Lancashire-Pudding, CDC spokesperson. “Currently we are tracking almost two dozen cases of the new H1Z1 strain and keeping patients infected with the virus under highly-regulated quarantine.”
The news of the new H1Z1 strain comes just days after the new H1N1 vaccine had gone into widespread use in hospitals and medical clinics around the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The new H1Z1 strain is said to present with “rabies-like” symptoms, according to the CDC.
People who suspect that friends, coworkers or relatives may have been exposed to the H1Z1 virus are advised to report the matter to the police or health officials immediately.
“The H1Z1 strand seems not to be transmitted by air,” said a source at the CDC who wished to remain anonymous. “It seems to be transmitted strictly through bodily fluids, either saliva or blood.”
Essentially, the symptoms we’re seeing are very similar to those of the rabies virus,” said another confidential CDC spokesperson. “Once exposed to the virus, the infected individuals seem to gradually lose awareness of who and where they are, and eventually become violent and hyper-aggressive.”
Disease control officials say they are unsure when, or if, an H1Z1 “zombie flu” vaccine will become available.
“Preliminary tests are indicating that the H1Z1 strain is prone to rapid mutations, making it very difficult to develop a vaccine,” said immunologist Lakshmi Sarihurinoraddin. “Given the very low incidence of survival among infected humans, we have very little time to work with patients before they become violent and uncontrollable.”
Until a vaccine is developed, residents of areas affected by the H1Z1 “zombie flu” are advised to avoid crowded areas and, at all costs, avoid contact with those infected by the H1Z1 virus.
“You can easily spot the infected,” said a sherrif’s deputy in Miami Dade County, one area which has reportedly seen several incidences of the H1Z1 zombie flu. “They kind of lumber around…they don’t really seem like they know what’s going on…If [the infected] catch sight of an uninfected human, they just go crazy.”
Interestingly enough, early reports from law enforcement officials seem to indicate that those infected with the zombie flu do not attack each other, but rather only show hyper-aggression toward those uninfected with the virus.
CDC officials declined to comment on that speculation.