Home U.S Swarms of sex-mad bugs infected with 'zombie' STD to invade homes this...

Swarms of sex-mad bugs infected with 'zombie' STD to invade homes this month

An eerie fungus that takes over an insect’s body while it is still alive is wreaking havoc across the US Midwest. The fungus, spread as a sexually transmitted disease, is turning billions of cicadas into “the walking dead,” according to experts. The warning comes as trillions of cicadas are set to descend on a major US city in the coming weeks. 

Massospora cicadina, the name of the terrifying fungal pathogen, gruesomely invades male cicadas and eventually causes the genitals to be ripped from their bodies. It slowly replaces the end of the cicada’s abdomen while the insect is still alive.

The white fungus manipulates the cicadas into becoming “hypersexual” and alters the cicadas’ behaviour to become attractive to both females and males since sex is how the infection is spread. 

Cicadas have “interlocking” genitals which means that once an infected cicada has sex with another cicada, its abdomen is ripped off – meaning that “the cicada that’s infected is busted open, raining fluffy spores everywhere”. 

The chalky spores from the fungus are then spread to nearby bugs, sharing the infection.

The white fungus disease only afflicts 13 and 17-year periodical cicadas, which have both emerged this year in a rare phenomenon.

However, the zombie disease has already infected at least ten percent of the cicadas in the Midwest, according to experts.

Infected broods of the cicadas have been found in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

They are expected to migrate north and spread the zombie STD to the Chicago area next. 

Dr. Matt Kasson, an associate professor of mycology and forest pathology at West Virginia University, explained the bizarre disease to CNN, saying: “A clump of spores erupt out of where the genitals and abdomen once were. It looks like there’s a gumdrop that’s been dropped in chalk dust, glued to the backside of these cicadas.”

University of Connecticut entomologist John Cooley told NBC Chicago that the issue “is even stranger than science fiction”.

Dr Cooley added: “This is a sexually transmitted zombie disease. They’re completely at the mercy of the fungus. They’re walking dead.”

He continued: “Periodical cicadas have interlocking genitalia. So when they pull apart, guess what happens? Rip. And then there’s a cicada walking around with someone else’s genitals stuck to them.

“And now the cicada that’s infected is busted open. The now ripped-apart and infected cicadas then fly off, further spreading the fungus as its spores rain down everywhere.”

Scientists also suggest that the fungus contains an amphetamine which has hallucinatory effects on birds that eat the infected cicadas.


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