A fantastic article at The Verge about rabies as a zombie disease.
“What disturbs me is I smashed his mouth off, I smashed his teeth in, but he still wanted to continue in the attack mode. I was terrified at [its] resilience.”
This gory description could have been one of many zombie survivor stories from the novel World War Z, but it’s actually a man’s factual description the tenacity of a rabid raccoon he beat to death with a hammer in the non-fiction book Rabid.
I’ve never thought of this before! And it’s so obvious and is not new (see more links below). Rabies is a neurological disease transmitted by the bite of an infected animal that causes zombie-like symptoms (fatigue, vision disturbances, slurred speech, loss of coordination). If you observe these symptoms, certain death is the result. If caught in the early stages, as with a bite from a suspected fox, raccoon, dog, bat, etc., the iconic injections will be administered and it will not reach the brain.
The author also connected rabies to vampirism. A Neurology journal piece was published a while back relating the similarities of the fiction and nonfiction conditions. Again, it was transmitted by bite – a common horror motif – and made the victims animalistic. But what about werewolves? Not mentioned, maybe a stretch.
Regardless, check this piece out for its look at movies featuring these themes and the hopeful treatment that may, at least sometimes, allow people to come back from certain death.