What can World of Warcraft teach us about pandemic response?



corrupted_blood_warcraft2 In an interesting blog post over at the Health Disparities Blog, the so-called Corrupted Blood incident at the massively popular online role-playing game was chronicled.

The game designers created a virus that would infect virtual players and spread to others in the surrounding area. Eventually, this virus got out from the dungeon which was supposed to confine it, and into the “real” world, infecting many towns within the fantasy land.

While some rushed to help those stricken with the virus, others purposely got infected and willingly spread the virus.

This sort of real-life behavior, otherwise known as the “stupid factor,” was lacking in computer models. Sadly, it needs to be considered when assessing real-life pandemic response.