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How Joel and Sarah avoided getting infected in The Last of Us

Joel and Sarah's neighbours got infected with cordyceps but they didn't, so here's how The Last of Us characters avoided turning into zombies

How Joel and Sarah avoided getting infected in The Last of Us

Warning spoilers ahead! In the world of The Last of Us, the vast majority of humanity has been turned into flesh-eating zombies by a virulent fungus known as cordyceps. Known as the infected, those afflicted by cordyceps have basically had their brains taken over by a malevolent mutated mould.

So how do you catch this deadly version of an athlete’s foot? Well, there are a couple of ways. If an infected bites you, then congratulations, you’ve just caught cordyceps, you can also breathe in the fungal spores (although this doesn’t seem to be the case in the TV series), and finally, you can eat infected foods.

Yes, in the world of The Last of Us videogame, at least, you can catch cordyceps by eating grain infected by the parasitical fungus. This is actually how the pandemic supposedly began, with a number of humans eating contaminated foodstuffs and subsequently turning into zombies who spread the infection further.

IGN has noted, however, that this seems to be true in the horror series as well and that our Joel (Pedro Pascal) and his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) actually came very close to being infected themselves.

In a video posted to IGN’s Twitter, the outlet makes the sharp point that you can see that at several points in the episode, Joel and Sarah very nearly ate products that were presumably contaminated with cordyceps.

Check out the video below:

It’s a neat little detail and chimes with what Craig Mazin said on The Last of Us official podcast “about lots of little details” in the first episode coming back around in later episodes.

If you love great TV check out our guides to Severance season 2 and House of the Dragon season 2. We’ve also got an article breaking down The Last of Us cast, so you can learn who’s playing your favourite The Last of Us characters like Ellie.