The United States government, through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), carried out a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System to ensure its effectiveness. This initiative, announced in August, involved sending alerts to citizens’ cell phones, radios, and televisions at 2:20pm ET on October 4.

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The message stated, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Additionally, radios and TVs broadcasted a one-minute message affirming that it was a nationwide test issued by FEMA.

While this test wasn’t the first of its kind, it gained significant attention on social media platforms. An absurd conspiracy theory began to circulate, suggesting that the emergency alert would somehow activate 5G towers and transform portions of the population into zombies.

According to this baseless theory, the 5G signal would trigger a virus, leading to a zombie apocalypse. One viral post warned people to turn off their cell phones on October 4, claiming that the EBS (Emergency Broadcast System) was going to “test” the system using 5G, which would in turn activate the Marburg virus in vaccinated individuals, potentially turning them into zombies.

This far-fetched conspiracy drew widespread amusement and disbelief on Twitter. Many found the notion so ludicrous that they couldn’t help but mock it. One person humorously quipped about marking themselves ‘safe’ from the alleged 5G zombie apocalypse on October 4. Another found entertainment in reading conspiracy theories, particularly those claiming 5G towers would cause a zombie apocalypse. Others expressed astonishment at how easily some individuals were drawn into such outlandish ideas, emphasizing that similar alert tests were commonplace in the past.

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In reality, the emergency alert system test was a routine measure to ensure that the public would be informed and prepared in the event of an actual emergency. The conspiracy theory linking it to 5G technology and a zombie virus was thoroughly debunked as a groundless fabrication.

What is Marburg virus?

The Marburg virus, classified within the Filoviridae family alongside the Ebola virus, is a highly contagious and potentially deadly pathogen. It leads to a rare yet severe condition termed Marburg virus disease (MVD). The emergence of this virus dates back to 1967 when outbreaks occurred in research facilities located in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as in Serbia, following contact with infected African green monkeys from Uganda.

This virus is considered zoonotic, signifying its ability to jump from animals to humans. It is widely believed that fruit bats, particularly those belonging to the Rousettus genus, serve as the natural hosts for this virus.

In humans, the virus primarily spreads through direct exposure to the bodily fluids (such as blood, saliva, urine, and feces) of infected animals or persons. Furthermore, transmission can occur via contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. Person-to-person transmission is also possible, especially in close-contact settings like healthcare environments.