THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

CDC’s 'zombie apocalypse’ post a hit

Associated Press / May 21, 2011

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ATLANTA — “Zombie apocalypse.’’ That blog posting headline is all it took for a behind-the-scenes public health doctor to set off an Internet frenzy over tired old advice about keeping water and flashlights on hand in case of a hurricane.

“You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency,’’ wrote Dr. Ali Khan on the emergency preparedness blog of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Khan’s postings usually draw 1,000 to 3,000 hits in a week. This one — posted Monday — got 30,000 within a day. By yesterday, it had gotten 963,000 page views and was the top item viewed on the agency’s website, due in part to media coverage.

“The response has been absolutely excellent,’’ Khan said. He said most people understand it was tongue in cheek.

More important, CDC officials said, it is drawing interest from teens and young adults who otherwise would not have read a federal agency’s guidance on the importance of planning an evacuation route or how much water and what tools to store in case of a major storm.

The idea evolved from a CDC Twitter session with the public earlier this year about planning for disasters. Activity spiked when dozens of tweets came in from people saying they were concerned about zombies.

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