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Solanum is a fictional virus that turns people into zombies in The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z novel. It is highly infectious, incurable, and gives its transformed victims mysterious properties. Although Solanum outbreaks are as old as humanity, the largest outbreak halved the human population, crashed the global economy, and either outright destroyed or massively transformed many societies. Solanum is most extensively described in the first chapter of The Zombie Survival Guide.


The Virus

Solanum is a fluid-based virus that enters the brain via the bloodstream. It uses the cells in the frontal lobe of the brain to replicate itself while destroying said cells, killing the host by stopping the heart and causing widespread organ shutdowns. The virus keeps the brain alive but dormant, and the virus mutates it into a new organ, no longer requiring energy, water, or oxygen. The new brain can use but is not dependent on the host's old body, which can now withstand extreme heat, cold, pressure, and pain.


Although the first appearance of the virus and Patient Zero of the global outbreak was in China (having been covered up by the government), the first recorded case comes from South Africa. No isolated sample of the Solanum virus has ever been recorded in nature. Despite extensive research of soil, water, and air samples from every ecosystem, additionally, no samples have been found in any animal or plant specimen. Many different explanation stories have been offered to explain this, from a government conspiracy, a military experiment gone wrong, organisms from outer space, an unknown ecosystem, or the wrath of God to punish humanity for various sins.


Within the first hour, there is immediate pain, discoloration, and blood clotting around the infected area. Within five hours, the victim feels joint pain, a strong fever, chills, and has slight dementia. Within 8 hours, dementia has become severe, the fever becomes stronger and they lose muscle coordination. Within 11 hours, the lower body is paralyzed and the victim feels very numb. Within 16 hours, they fall into a coma. In approximately 20 hours, they suffer cardiac arrest and die, reanimating within 23 hours. Time may vary depending on the health of the victim, infected area, and weather conditions.


The Solanum Virus is 100% communicable and fatal. It is transferred by fluid contact from an infected body, usually through biting or scratches, but it has also been known to occur from kissing, sexual activity, blood transfers, and organ donations.

Cross-Species Infection

The Solanum Virus can only reanimate humans, and animals that are infected and killed before reanimation, and parasitic insects like mosquitoes will instinctively refuse to bite infected blood cells.


The Solanum Virus has no known cure or treatment besides rapid amputation of an infected limb (with only a 10% success rate). The best thing a victim can do is commit suicide in a way that destroys their brain.

Reanimating The Already Deceased

It is impossible to reanimate an already deceased body with Solanum since not only will zombies ignore rotting flesh, but a stagnant bloodstream resulting from a stopped heart means the virus has no way of accessing the brain.

List of known outbreaks

60,000 BCE - Cave paintings and skeletons in a cave in Central Africa depict zombies.

3,000 BCE - An Egyptian tomb was discovered to have a zombie in it.

500 BCE - Carthaginian navigators discover zombies deep on the African continent.

329 BCE - A vase depicting zombies during Alexander The Great's conquest of the area was found by the Russian Special Forces.

212 BCE - A banned Chinese medical manuscript found in the wall of a long-dead scholar's home gives a description of zombies and a guide to combating them.

121 CE - A large zombie outbreak destroys several villages in Scotland but they are defeated by the Roman Army, leading to the construction of Hadrian's Wall.

140-41 CE - Six outbreaks are recorded in Roman North Africa, soldiers kill them all.

156 CE - A zombie outbreak occurs in a Roman village and is destroyed by soldiers. Historians dismiss it as an anti-Roman riot.

177 CE - A zombie tries to attack a Roman village in France but is killed by soldiers.

700s CE - A painting found in Northern Holland shows a group of knights slaughtering zombies.

850 CE - There is a large zombie outbreak in Saxony, which the peasants survive by hiding in castles. It is blamed on a lack of faith in the Jewish population.

1073 CE - Researchers in Jerusalem begin researching zombies found in a jail.

1253 CE - A Viking colony in Greenland is overrun by zombies.

1281 CE - Marco Polo sees a zombie head in the palace of Kublai Khan, who claims it was given to him by Genghis Khan in his travels.

1523 CE - Spanish priests and explorers in Oaxaca are warned by natives not to find the zombies.

1579 CE - Francis Drake found an island filled with zombies in the Pacific while trying to circumnavigate the world.

1583 CE - A group of Cossacks in Siberia enslaved villagers and later ate them. After eating zombie meat, they turned and killed each other.

1587 CE - The British colony on Roanoke Island in what will become the US is consumed by zombies.

1611 CE - A Portuguese merchant discovered the existence of a secret samurai order which kill zombies in Japan.

1690 CE - A Danish ship found a Portuguese ship full of zombies drifting in the ocean which they destroyed with cannon fire.

1762 CE - The Caribbean island of St Lucia experienced a large zombie outbreak which was put down by free slaves. They were re-enslaved by colonial authorities who wrote it off as a slave uprising.

1807 CE - There is a zombie outbreak in a mental institution in France, the government states it was a case of mass insanity.

1824 CE - A British expedition in South Africa finds a Zulu warrior clan using zombies as a ritual fight.

1839 CE - A European explorer mapping the Nile River claims to have found a village infested with zombies.

1848 CE - A group of settlers disappears in Wyoming after they were overrun by zombies while on the trail.

1852 CE - American treasure hunters in Chiapas, Mexico found a man gagged while exploring Mayan Ruins, they release the man who attacks and kills them all.

1867 CE - A British steamship finds a nearby abandoned ship which they find zombies on, which infect a crew member. They dock at Perth and the governor doesn't believe them, the ship accidentally leaves port and crashes somewhere in Western Australia, releasing the zombies into the wild.

1882 CE - An abandoned mine is found filled with dead, starved children after they tried to survive a zombie outbreak.

1888 CE - A small mining town in Washington is overrun by zombies, only to be saved by a Lakota warrior who saw the Knudhansen massacre and hunts zombies across the US.

1893 CE - French Soldiers in North Africa hold out in a fortress under siege from zombies for three years. They are arrested after they escape.

1901 CE - The US Navy finds a Taiwanese village infested with zombies, they were discharged from the Navy after reporting the story.

1905 CE - Hunters in German East Africa claim to have seen zombies.

1911 CE - A Louisiana town is overrun by zombies from the nearby swamp, the US government dismisses this as a race riot.

1913 CE - A Dutch scientist finds a zombie-infested village in Suriname and researches the disease, calling it 'Solanum'.

1923 CE - A British pilot in Sri Lanka claims to have seen a zombie in Mount Everest. Upon taking it on his plane to take it to Britain, it rose up and attacked the crew, crashing the plane in the ocean. The pilot died mysteriously the next day.

1942 CE - Japanese soldiers find a Pacific Island infested with zombies.

1942-45 CE - The Imperial Japanese Army and Navy conduct research on zombies in Manchuria and try to weaponize them by deploying them by plane or submarine, all attempts fail.

1943 CE - A US Army plane lands in a small town in Algeria and finds it filled with dead zombies.

1947 CE - A small Canadian town suffers an outbreak that is suppressed by armed citizens, it is dismissed as an unexplainable act of public violence.

1954 CE - A french businessman claims to have seen zombie cage fights in the slums of Vietnam.

1957 CE - A captured Kenyan rebel from the Mau Mau Uprising claims to have seen zombified British soldiers during the war.

1960 CE - Researchers at a remote military science lab suffer a zombie outbreak, despite many people surviving the incident, it is destroyed by a nuclear bomb and the Russian government says it was a routine nuclear test.

1962 CE - A farm in Nevada is discovered to have several zombie corpses, the incident is still under investigation.

1968 CE - A Laotian village is discovered to be infested with zombies by US Soldiers, who destroy it with a napalm strike.

1971 CE - Environmental photographers in an African jungle hear distant, zombie-like moaning.

1975 CE - An Egyptian village is overrun by zombies and jointly defeated by Israeli and Egyptian soldiers, leading to a period of peace between the two hostile powers. Israel and Egypt deny the incident ever occurred.

1979 CE - A town in Alabama is attacked by a horde of zombies leading to the town defending itself with guns and barricades, the episode is dismissed as it is assumed to be a case of mass hysteria stemming from water poisoning.

1980 CE - A string of zombie attacks occurs in Brazilian villages, the government dismisses it as an anti-government uprising.

1984 CE - A blood transfusion containing Solanum leads to chaos in an Arizona hospital room and is covered up by the government.

1987 CE - Zombie attacks at a nuclear power plant in China are dismissed as an anti-government riot.

1992 CE - Zombie attacks a camping couple in rural California, it is dismissed as a murder-suicide.

1993 CE - String of attacks in California in an elementary school and sewer. The attacks are either denied by the government or dismissed as gang warfare.

1994 CE - Zombies are detected in Los Angeles and briefly attack a harbor and several fishermen. Despite dozens of witnesses, the police deny the incident and victims are afraid to speak out.

1996 CE - The Indian Army detects a zombie crossing the border with Pakistan, it is presumed to be a Pakistani soldier and shot by snipers when it is presumed to be an attack.

1998 CE - The Cossack zombie attacks a documentary team, leading to a small crew surviving for three days in a small barn in rural Siberia. Despite the whole event being caught on camera, it is dismissed as a hoax and the Russian government denies the incident.

2001 CE - Small Solanum outbreak in a Moroccan fishing village, the zombies are tied up and dumped in the nearby ocean.

2002 CE - Zombie washes up on the shore of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, it was eliminated by police.

2012-24 CE - The first global zombie outbreak. It more than halves the global population, destroys the global economy, and either massively transforms or destroys many countries.