For the purposes of the show, the characters with medical training theorize that it is probably a particularly aggressive strain of the flu. No one can be certain, since they lack the facilities needed to do the kind of testing we are accustomed to in this day and age, but influenza has been a particularly nasty bug that has plagued mankind for quite a long time. I imagine that a societal collapse and everything that goes with it would make it even more likely to be a problem in the future. To be quite honest, pandemic diseases are one of the things that frightens me the most.
And it bears mentioning that the characters in the show do pretty much exactly what I would suggest in the event of a plague taking root with in an insular retreat community. They isolate the sick to attempt to keep the disease from spreading further and, regrettably, cull their small herd of pigs (one of the pigs was sick and died basically one day before people started showing symptoms, so it is thought that perhaps the pigs are the source of the sickness). Pigs as well as chickens and other fowl have been known to be sources of influenza outbreaks.
One of the most important things one can do to avoid any type of sickness taking root is to operate under a rule where cleanliness is made a priority. It is a known fact that sickness brews and spreads in unclean environments, and it is theorized that one of the reasons for the sudden end of the Black Plague in Europe so many centuries ago was none other than the infamous Nostradamus teaching people that the best way to stay healthy is to keep clean, and burn the bodies of those infected rather than allow them to begin to decay waiting to be buried.
One thing I was impressed with in the show is that the community at the prison seems to do a very good job of keeping clean, fresh water available to their people. In two different instances – one in this episode and one in the previous one – we see barrels of clean water of which the people can make use.
Something similar to this would be a quick and easy option for making sure the people at your retreat have access to clean water at all times, but there are also options available that, with a little planning and ingenuity, could allow for gravity fed water directly into the indoor plumbing of the facility. I'm thinking all that it would take would be to place some tanks on the roof, and have one of the foraging parties stop by a hardware store and pick up some PVC pipe and fittings. One thing we never see is exactly where their water comes from, but we all know the value of a rain catch, etc. and I imagine that prison has quite a lot of roof space available that would provide thousands of gallons of fresh, clean water every time it rained.
In a survival situation, there is quite simply nothing more important than water.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]
My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:
- Season 4: Going back in time to review these and will link as completed
- Episode 1