The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency whose task includes preventing pandemics and pushing flu shots, is preparing for a zombie apocalypse.
In a Monday blog post, the normally staid agency issued a straight-faced list of recommendations on how to survive a massive invasion of the flesh-eating undead.
"In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way," the post said. "So what do you need to do before zombies ... or hurricanes or pandemics, for example, actually happen?"
Dave Daigle, CDC spokesman and self-described Zombie Task Force member, said the idea for the campaign arose during a brainstorming session on how to interest Americans in the agency's annual campaign on hurricane preparedness.
"I worry we try the same thing every year and I didn't know how many people we were actually engaging," Daigle said. "Let's face it — preparedness and public health are not sexy topics."
A co-worker mentioned that after the earthquake in Japan, the CDC saw a big traffic spike on its Twitter account after someone asked the agency whether radiation emissions could set off a zombie attack, Daigle said. That got him thinking.
"That phrase popped into my head: 'zombie preparedness,' " he said. He took the idea to the CDC's director of preparedness, Dr. Ali S. Khan, who gave a thumbs-up to the project.
Daigle said a normal blog post gets maybe 1,000 hits in a week. By Wednesday, two days after the post went up, the zombie primer had racked up 30,000 hits. Then the server crashed.
Perhaps the work of zombies?
No matter. With the addition of extra server space, the site is again among the living and the CDC is hoping that the tongue-in-cheek advice will inspire people to make at least basic preparations for a real emergency.
"This includes things like water, food and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored)," the post said.