Fact Check

'Ebola Zombie' Photograph

Image depicts a 'captured Ebola victim' who has risen from the dead.

Published Oct. 7, 2014


Claim: Image depicts a "captured Ebola victim" who has risen from the dead.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]

Ebola victim turns zombie?


Origins:   On 5 October 2014, the Huzlers web site published an article positing that an "Ebola zombie" had been captured and photographed in Liberia. The story came hot on the heels of the CDC's announcement that a man who had traveled from Liberia to Dallas had fallen critically ill after contracting the Ebola virus. Concern over Ebola was at its peak in the United States when the site published an image of a purported "Ebola zombie," along with the following claim:

The first reports of Ebola victims rising from the dead was reported by Liberia's National Newspaper. Initially, officials from the World Health Organization fled in shock and horror as the Ebola patients suddenly arose from the dead. After organizing military reinforcements and obtaining increased containment measures, World Health Organization's special operations staff quickly responded with military assistance and quarantined the two Ebola victims who arose from the dead.

With Texas now infested with an unknown amount of Ebola patients, nearby Kansas has declared a state of emergency. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has declared October "Zombie Awareness Month" and the state is on high alert for a zombie outbreak. Homes across the state are to receive pamphlets warning them of how to prevent the spread of Ebola and what to do if an Ebola Victim falls dead and then starts to show life again.


For a number of reasons, this article resonated strongly with readers. First, a genuine diagnosis of a case of Ebola in Dallas had sparked great public concern over spread of the disease. Second, "zombie preparedness" campaigns at both state and federal levels have used pop-culture interest in zombies to promote disaster preparedness education. Also, an earlier report had suggested that two Ebola patients had been presumed dead and prepared for burial before showing signs of life. (Additional details of that story never surfaced, nor did any other reputable news outlets duplicate its claims.) Finally, a third Ebola victim believed to have died of the illness was captured on film showing signs of life and was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Africa.

None of those cases actually constituted an Ebola victim's genuine rise from the dead, however. The image shown above, widely circulated as that of a reanimated Ebola victim, is actually a prop mask. Also widely circulated as an image of an "Ebola zombie" is an image of a "lab zombie" taken from the movie World War Z, seen here:

Ultimately, readers should take note of the fact that Huzlers is a well-known humor and satire site, whose prior spoofs include Justin Bieber's admitting to being bisexual and the 2014 Super Bowl's being rigged. The Huzlers site also carries a disclaimer on its pages noting that "Huzlers.com is a combination of real shocking news and satire news to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief."

Last updated:   7 October 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.