Prepared for a Zombie Pandemic? CDC Can Help

Oct 19, 2011 1:13pm
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The CDC's new graphic novel on a zombie pandemic. Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control

If zombies attack, would you know what to do?

Don’t worry. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new guidelines with all the information you’ll need to protect your family in the event of a zombie pandemic — or a tornado, hurricane, flood, or other emergency.

The tips come in the form of a graphic novel, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic,” which the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response published on its website Friday. Using appropriately gruesome illustrations, the novel follows the story of Todd, Julie, and their dog Max, who hear news of a strange new virus that turns people into zombies. They gather food, flashlights, and other supplies for an emergency preparedness kit, and before long, they have to confront mobs of the undead while CDC officials struggle to create a zombie vaccine.

The novel is a follow-up to the office’s wildly popular and controversial blog post in May. Health communications officer Margaret Silver told USA Today that she and her colleagues crafted the initial blog and the current graphic novel as a way to draw more people to read the agency’s traditional, somewhat dry advice on how to prepare for emergencies.

It worked.

The blog went up on Monday, May 16, and “by Friday, we were trending worldwide on Twitter and the phone was ringing off the hook,” Silver said. The blog got more than 3 million views and 500 comments. “Most of our blogs get maybe five,” she said.

USA Today reports that the graphic novel was already a huge success at New York’s ComicCon, where the director of the preparedness office, Ali Kahn, handed out copies and spoke at a panel titled, “Zombie Summit: How to Survive the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.”

The full novella is on the CDC’s website.

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