Important alert from Chinese state media: No, Ebola isn’t a ‘zombie virus’


Now it can be told: This will not happen to you if you are infected with Ebola. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Everybody, calm down. Ebola isn't a "zombie virus." It will not turn you into a member of the living dead.

That's the message delivered by Chinese state media, in response to the flurry of rumors, online and presumably elsewhere, about the deadly virus that's ravaging West Africa.

A recent article published by the state-run Xinhua News Agency debunks various assertions about the virus.

According to a translation from Foreign Policy, some people erroneously believe that once people die from Ebola, they can "unexpectedly reawaken, entering into an extremely violent condition in which they bite any moving object, including humans and animals."

False!

On the contrary, an expert said, Ebola victims actually get weaker, not stronger, because they lose so much blood. Additionally, coming back from the dead as a zombie (whether of the traditional slow or new-age fast variety) "can only happen in the movies," the expert said. Noted.

Another rumor that's taken off in China: You can cure Ebola by drinking coffee mixed with raw onions. Nope! (The aromatic elixir would likely fend off people, yes, but not the deadly Ebola virus.)

Nonetheless, Chinese officials are on high alert as the worst Ebola outbreak in history rages on. They have declared that passengers arriving from West Africa will go through special channels at China's airports; state media even released a photo of Nigerians being examined by Chinese health workers wearing full-body hazmat suits.

Ebola has killed more than 1,000 people,  mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and the World Health Organization now says the outbreak's toll has been vastly underestimated.

China isn't the only place where wild Ebola rumors have spread rapidly; in West Africa, rumors and misinformation have had deadly consequences. Health workers have had to combat the notion among some West Africans that the virus doesn't even exist.

As for a zombie outbreak, the United States appears to be well-prepared for the walking dead, thanks to the Zombie Preparedness Initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Head of medical aid group Doctors Without Borders calls for more leadership from the World Health Organization to bring the Ebola epidemic in West Africa under control. (Reuters)
Elahe Izadi is a general assignment national reporter for The Washington Post.
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