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CDC's 'zombie apocalypse' tips are an Internet hit

A public health doctor looking for a way to liven up a message about emergency preparedness this week tried something eerie – a zombie attack – and sparked an Internet frenzy.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A public health doctor looking for a way to liven up a message about emergency preparedness this week tried something eerie – a zombie attack – and sparked an Internet frenzy.

"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 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.

Above the post is a photo of what appears to be a dirty-fingered female zombie.

Khan's postings usually draw 1,000 to 3,000 hits a week. This one — posted Monday — got 30,000 in a day. By Friday, it had 963,000 page views and was the top item viewed on the agency's site. "The response has been absolutely excellent. Most people have gotten the fact that this is tongue-and-cheek," Khan said.

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

The idea evolved from a CDC Twitter session with the public earlier this year. Dave Daigle, a veteran communications specialist, proposed the idea of using a zombie hook to spice up the hurricane message. Khan, director of emergency preparedness, approved it immediately and wrote it himself.

How to prepare locally: The St. Petersburg Times' hurricane guide comes out Sunday.

CDC's 'zombie apocalypse' tips are an Internet hit 05/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 20, 2011 8:57pm]

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