How did the zombie outbreak start in the Walking Dead?
I'm wondering where and why the zombie outbreak began?
I'm assuming that you are talking about the TV Show, but to be clear, you should probably formally state if you are asking about the TV Show or comics. The show is based on the comics, but has diverged greatly already.
In the TV series there hasn't been an explanation so far. This is easily found by, you know, actually watching the series ;) (painful, I know, what with all the soap opera drama)
When I posted my answer I didn't know about the twist at the end of season two. Is there now any reason to think that it's an *infection?*
@beta That's why I put a bounty on this question. If there is anything that need be updated in your answer, please edit it. This question attract continuous traffic to the site, thus, it's primordial to keep it's answers updated.
@DavRob60 - I first posted my answer shortly after I joined, and as a result, it was mediocre at best. I've been meaning to rework it for MONTHS, and I finally did so today. I'd appreciate it if you would take another look and see if you think it's worth an upvote now. Thanks!
The cause of the outbreak is not known. It has been made fairly clear that the initial source of the virus is not currently something that either the comic or the show are planned to address, as this quote from an interview with show producer Glen Mazzara indicates:
Will determining the cause of the outbreak be something that the group, now that they know they're all infected, spends time on?
Mazzara: Robert has not been interested in addressing in the comic book, and I'm not interested in addressing in the show. That being said, if it leads to new story -- if there's something that's important that we get out of it -- I'll be the first one to write it. But right now the cause of the zombie outbreak seems irrelevant. I always want the show to play like a horror movie every week. If you define what caused the outbreak, that puts us in a world of science fiction, and this isn't science fiction to me, it's horror. In my mind that's two different genres, so that is an important distinction to me.
All we really know about the virus is:
Everyone has it
It remains dormant in the brain
Sometime (anywhere from a few minutes to several hours) after the moment of death, the virus activates, and reanimates the body
We can also speculate that humans are likely the only animals that the virus infects.
All we can really infer from this is that the virus is likely airborne, due to how widespread the infection is.