- For information about the player affliction, see Infection. For the playable zombie faction, see Undead.
Infected are walking corpses afflicted by an unknown infection which they can also spread to living humans. This infection is treatable by an antiviral found in limited supply, while untreated infection will lead to death and, eventually, subsequent "reanimation" of the victim as infected.
The infected are capable of infecting survivors by merely wounding them, their numbers are kept constantly high, making them a prevalent threat in the wasteland. It is also possible that survivors which never come in contact with the infection while living can become zombies, either by coming in contact with the infection after death or already carrying it within them. The infection can also contaminate sources of water or food, but thorough boiling or cooking is known to eradicate or at least reduce it.
As the infection surfaced in eastern Europe over 20 years ago, it has rapidly spread to entire continent and surrounding regions, thanks to incompetence and unpreparedness of governments and society. It is unknown how far the infection has spread or if it has been contained in other countries, regions or continents. The presence of recent and constant helicopter crash sites and care package deliveries indicate that at least some of the pre-apocalypse society must remain outside of the isolated, infected areas.
Infected quick facts
- Poor sight compared to humans
- Enhanced hearing compared to humans
- Do not attack each other
- Their attacks carry the risk of infection
- Can be defeated by moderate amount of damage
The most notable behavior by the infected is that they prey on living survivors of the disaster. It is also possible that they can survive by cannibalizing corpses of other infected, but this is unconfirmed. However, they do not attack each other, and sometimes exhibit pack mentality.
When coming in contact with living humans, they will pursue and attack their victims, violently clawing at them. A single infected is hardly a threat on its own, but as they carry the infection with them, avoiding them at all times is highly recommended. When unprovoked, they can be found idling mindlessly, but upon sensing living humans, they will continue to prowl around their surroundings even after losing sight of their prey.
To a lone survivor, attracting infected attention is an unfortunate mishap but in no way unrecoverable. The infected lose track of their targets easily, but are known to sense living humans inside of buildings or otherwise out of sight or hearing. They are also extremely sensitive to loud noises; even a low-caliber gunshot can attract a large number of infected quickly over longer distance, and they are able to predict the location of the sound extremely well. They are also attracted to more quiet sounds, such as impacts of bullets or other projectiles, indicating sensitiveness to not only loud but also sudden noises and other cues.
Encountering and provoking attention of the infected can carry other risks than merely trading blows with the mindless brutes. Many experienced survivors pay close attention to the behavior of observable infected, and can use their actions to predict and determine presence of other survivors in near vicinity.
Occasionally, a recently killed survivor who becomes an infected may awaken to enhanced abilities upon sensing the living. These undead have much more keen senses and greater strength compared to regular infected, and are roughly comparable to living survivors in terms of endurance and wit. They also do not merely survive by feasting on flesh of the living, but are nourished by it, and are capable of further progressing into something of an "alpha zombie". They can also aggravate other infected nearby, and are seemingly able to command them with limited ability. It is not known if all infected possess this potential, but it is speculated that only particularly ferocious-natured survivors are capable of this "evolution" after dying.