Horror movie
© REUTERS/Lehtikuva Lehtikuva
Horror movie culture enthusiasts dressed as zombies take part in the Helsinki Zombie Walk in Central Helsinki
The US Center for Disease Control has been forced to address the American public in the wake of internet rumors of a possible 'zombie apocalypse".

It's hard to say which is more 'out there': that people believe there might be a virus that reanimates dead people, or that a federal agency actually weighed in on the issue in earnest.

The CDC has previously run a few tongue-in-cheek campaigns about zombies, using the popular theme to get the public prepared for "anything". As the agency's director says, "if you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack".

But it's now found itself in an unusual spot: having to treat the matter seriously. CDC spokesman David Daigle said the agency "does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)".

But it's not reassuring the masses. Zombie conspiracies are bouncing around the Internet, becoming the third most-popular search term on Google - all after a number of unrelated, yet disturbing, incidents.

A man in Miami attacked and ate the face of his victim. The victim survived, but doctors are having a hard time piecing his face together. Then, an engineering student in Maryland allegedly stabbed a man to death and then ate his heart and brain. In Canada, police are on the hunt for a porn actor who reportedly slaughtered, dismembered, sexually-violated the body and then ate his victim.

The cause for this cannibalistic outbreak is unclear - some blame drugs, others cite psychological issues. One woman even claimed it was all because of a voodoo curse. But the human fascination with the undead is not new; it's one of the reasons the CDC used them for an awareness campaign in the first place.

And even though they deny the existence of zombies, a kit list on their website provides readers with information about everything they may need in case a zombie does come around.

So, in case you're feeling panicky, remember: non-perishable food, medications, a utility knife, sanitation supplies, clothing, personal documents and one gallon of water per day should keep the undead away.