World War Z Wiki

"We thought the wall would stop them. We hoped the cold would freeze them. We thought the army would crush them. But nothing worked. We were alone. And they just. Keep. Coming." ― The Survivors

The Zekes are the main enemies fought in World War Z.

Zekes are fast-moving, highly aggressive undead humans that stop at nothing to infect the living. While weak by themselves, they are rarely fought alone. Zekes always rely on their strength in numbers to overwhelm survivors.

Physical Appearance

Zekes are the turned human population infected with the zombie virus. As such, the undead men and women are left wearing whatever they wore at the time they were infected. Their clothes appear disheveled, torn in a few areas, and stained in blood. A few notable examples of zekes with a noticeable appearance are construction workers who wear their high-visibility clothes and hard hats, scientists in lab coats, and soldiers in green camo uniforms.

Their skin appears unnaturally pale and graying. Dark veins are visible on their face, neck, and body. Their eyes are a hazy and blurry white.

Abilities & Behavior

Having been infected with the zombie virus, zekes have lost all humanity. They are perpetually aggressive and have a single goal to attack living beings. In return, they have been given unnatural strength and stamina to make it easier to relentlessly chase after the living.

They appear to be completely unaware of traps set in place by humans, simply rushing to infect any healthy being in sight. They can take multiple non-headshots before falling, jump from great distances with very little harm to themselves, and climb obstacles that an ordinary human would have trouble dealing with.

If left alone for some time, they go idle. In this state, the zeke are simply seen slowly walking around, lying on the ground, or just standing in place. Awaiting stimulus, they remain unaware until something alerts them to make them spring into action. Once alerted, they become highly aware of the presence of healthy beings and will stop at nothing to infect and/or kill them. They are extremely sensitive to sounds and will quickly rush to the area where the sound is coming from.

They ignore highly wounded survivors, seeing that they prove to be no threat to them, and that they will eventually become infected.

Strategy & Tactics


Zekes act as the typical common enemy for survivors to fight. Although relatively frail, they arrive in hordes and swarms, relying on their massive numbers to overpower the survivors.


  • Be wary of Screamers. If a Screamer appears, his screams will naturally cause any idle zeke to be alerted to the survivors, in addition to calling in periodic mini-swarms of zeke towards his location. He can also boost the speed of nearby zeke if they run past his shockwaves, although this is of little concern because of their very small area-of-effect.


  • Aim for headshots. Headshots kill zeke instantly regardless of difficulty; even on extreme, a single well-placed shot to the head will kill the zeke instantly. This is very important for higher difficulties as ammo becomes very sparse, and there might not be enough guns to go around for an entire team.
  • Melee breathers. If the zeke swarm you, use melee attacks. Although it might not kill the zeke instantly, it does keep them off you for a brief moment.
  • Set up defenses in swarm scenarios. In areas where a swarm is arriving and placing defenses are possible, place them in areas of significant trouble, such as the end of a chapter. Every piece of equipment you or other survivors find is a boon against the zeke - automated turrets provide a brief moment of relief, mortars and stationary guns can destroy packs of zeke, fences and barbed wire force the zeke to take more time to traverse them, and voltage grids can stun large numbers of zeke as long as the stunned zeke are quickly dealt with.
  • Don't cause unnecessary attention. Kill zeke as quickly as possible, and don't run. Running will alert the zeke, especially on higher difficulties.
  • Avoid a domino effect. If one zeke becomes aware of the survivors, they may scream and roar, alerting nearby zeke. It isn't as effective as a Screamer, but there is no point in getting swarmed and taking unnecessary damage in the process.
  • Destroy pyramids. In swarm scenarios, zeke will often be placed in a lower elevation to the survivors' position. Zeke can climb up to the team's position by forming "pyramids", stacking on top of each other to reach the survivors. Heavy weapons and explosives are particularly useful in destroying these formations.
  • Listen to calls. Survivors, soldiers or their superiors will often yell out the position in which the zeke are coming from in swarm events to allow the team to quickly reposition themselves.
  • Multiple targets to choose from is a boon. In some scenarios that present additional targets, the zeke will also go for them. This in turn diverts most of the zeke away from the survivors. Make sure to quickly remove the zeke that are swarming those targets if none are focused on the survivors.
  • Don't get swarmed. Remember if multiple zekes attack you at once they will pin you down and maul you untill enough are killed to let you back up. So don't charge into large hordes or else you'll have a nice meeting with the floor.









Related Achievements

There are six achievements related to the zekes that can be earned.

Icon & Name Description Gamerscore (XB) Trophy (PS)


Kill 10,000 zombies 20 Bronze
Can't fool me.jpg

Can't fool me

Kill 20 lying zombies before they get up 20 Bronze
Chain reaction.jpg

Chain reaction

Hit 10 zombies with one tazer shot 35 Silver


Kill 10 zombies with gas cylinder explosions 35 Silver
The floor is lava.jpg

The floor is lava

Burn 10 zombies with one gasoline puddle 35 Silver
I am safe!.jpg

I am safe!

Use masking grenade on 3 teammates with zombies near 35 Silver