The Last of Us Science, Explained: Can a Fungal Pandemic Happen in Real Life?

HBO’s series adaptation of the video game The Last of Us has spread like a virus. Every week, we watch as Joel and Ellie journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

We’re still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. So a lot of us are wondering the same thing: Should we be worried about a fungal pandemic, too?

How Fungal Pandemics Happen, in The Last of Us and IRL

Joel explains to Ellie, a pandemic baby, that spores of the deadly fungus spread onto basic food like flour.

Almost every country consumes flour which explains how the disease spread quickly and successfully in The Last of Us.

But this is another creative liberty that the game and the show have taken. In real life, fungi like the zombie-ant parasite aren’t able to take on such big hosts as humans.

Humans are pretty far from insects as far as the animal kingdom goes, and the biggest advantage we have is our body heat.

We’re simply too warm for parasitic fungi to thrive in let alone control completely. Fungi do infect humans but not in the way The Last of Us presented.

The short answer is no. Unless you’re a small insect you probably have nothing to worry about. But scientists aren’t ruling it out as an impossible event.

Should We Be Afraid of Fungi Taking Over?

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