Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina and plant scientist Cassandra Quave watch “The Last of Us” and discuss the science. (Your Local Epidemiologist)
Cordyceps, the fungus that causes the zombie epidemic, is real, and it is every bit as horrific as portrayed in the show … but it only affects carpenter ants. The fungus hasn’t significantly evolved in hundreds of millions of years, not even to affect other types of ants.
We will not have mushroom heads running at exorbitant speeds trying to kill us any time soon. While not as sexy, real fungal infections are a major health issue and, with climate change and the rise of antimicrobial resistance, will become even more of one in the future. But if you’re worried about a pandemic, focus on viruses. In the meantime, enjoy the show.