Patient Zero Rocks!

Yesterday JT posted about an Android app called Patient Zero. As a fan of both virology and social media, I immediately downloaded it and started playing. It’s a very passive “game”. Once you sign up, you just sit back and wait to infect or be infected. You can increase your infecting ability by traveling. Or by taking your phone to areas where lots of traveling occurs…I’m looking at you Minneapolis airport!

When I signed up in the late morning I was out in the far southwest metro and the majority of players were concentrated in downtown Minneapolis. At about 3:30pm the players started spreading out into the greater metro. It was fun to see how people moved as the work day ended and evening approached.

So, the basics.

  1. Download the app.
  2. Create a virus name.
  3. Make your virus either common cold, influenza or measles. The different viruses have different infection radii and lifespans. I recommend choosing the cold because it has the greatest infection radius. But if you live in a small, densely populated area with lots of potential players you may be alright with the smaller radius, but longer-lived virus like flu or measles.

That’s it!

Infection Map in Patient Zero

The app will show a map of all players in your area. A player can only be infected with up to six viruses at a time, but as they “get better”, they will become susceptible to new infections!  Those players with max infections will be in gray, potential new hosts for your virus will be in blue, and anyone with your virus will be in red.

My virus is named “Dorkiness”. When I went to bed last night I had infected three people, but when I woke up this morning I found that I had infected two more, and that together we had helped spread Dorkiness to eight people!

I have thus far been infected with the Restless Leg Syndrome, Holze, Ebola HPV (that’s a yucky combo) and Kellis-Amberlee viruses. These are all common cold types, so I should be done with them in the next 12 hours or so. Unfortunately, the one Influenza virus I caught was…I kid you not:


Influenza is a 48 hour virus so I’m stuck with Christianity until tomorrow evening. That I caught Christianity is extra funny to me because JT and Sarah are infecting people with Atheism and Godlessness. I wonder what happens if you get infected with Christianity and Atheism?

Image Source

UPDATE (4/10/12 9pm CST): I am responsible for the spread of Dorkiness to 13 people in the metro Twin Cities area! I have been reinfected with Restless Leg, Holze and Ebola-HPV (c’mon immune system, what up with the re-infection???). The Christianity is still due to stick for another 20 hours or so, and I seem to have picked up a new sickness called McClellan’s Poop.

Patient Zero Rocks!
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325 thoughts on “Patient Zero Rocks!

  1. 1

    I am sad because the closest person to me with this app so far is thirty miles from, me and I dont think I ever infect or be infected living in the middle of nowhere.

  2. 2

    I’ve just started infecting the greater LA area with my Mad Science Flu. (Influenza). I think I need to listen to Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease” album now.

  3. 5

    I picked it up over the weekend. It didn’t spread very much until I came into work Monday. My office is right next to a major interstate in the Chicago metro area. My common cold, “The Rattles” (Thank you, Skyrim) has been slowly working its way down towards the city.

  4. 6

    Too funny. surprised I just found this a year later. Most of the folks mentioned in your post still play patient zero. Do you?
    -ktig, aka Kellis-Amberlee.

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