What is cordyceps?

If you’re not asking, then you haven’t been watching HBO’s grim zombie apocalypse drama The Last of Us , a huge hit (4.7 million viewers on its first day) since it began airing on January 15th.

And if you there is I ask, do you really want to know?

“People might think it’s disgusting,” said Abdul Akil, assistant professor of microbiology at Bergen Community College.

Based on the popular 2013 video game, The Last of Us (new episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m.) is set in the cursed hellscape that was America.

Tough guy Joel (Pedro Pascal) and 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) must navigate a devastated country destroyed by a pandemic. This particular infection alone turned most people into twisted, frothy mutants with hideous growths sprouting from their brains, mouths, and bodies.

Cordyceps, that’s what it’s called. And cordyceps is the master of the show—the real thing.

Can it do what this show’s nightmare scenario suggests? Point. But the actual details about cordyceps are quite disgusting.

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in the HBO series "The last of us."

Cordyceps Horror Show

Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus. More precisely, it is a family of about 150 species of fungi that prey on insects – especially ants – arthropods such as spiders, and in some cases other fungi as hosts.

But this how they do it so terribly.

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