In The Last of Us episode 3, on their way to Bill and Frank’s town, Joel tells Ellie about the beginning of the Cordyceps outbreak and the reason behind it other than a bite.
In the second episode of The Last of Us, the first signs of Cordyceps in humans show up back in 2003 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The cops find a woman who had suddenly started acting violently at a flour and grain factory.
The cops shoot her when she tries to attack them as well. Professor of Mycology at the University of Indonesia, Ibu Ratna, examines her body and confirms that this is an infection caused by Cordyceps.
The woman had bitten three of her coworkers, who were later killed as well, but the cops don’t know who bit this woman in the first place, which means the other infected people are still out there.
The cop in touch with Ratna asked for a solution. Since there is no medicine or vaccine for Cordyceps, Ratna suggested bombing the city.
When the infection reached other countries, the humans bombed each and every city where the infection was found to stop the virus from spreading. In some places, it worked, and in some, it didn’t.
When Ellie asked Joel about how it spread around the world, Joel revealed that apart from bites, there were a few other things through which the cordyceps spread.
How did Cordyceps begin spreading?
Ellie wonders if everything came crashing down in one day. She also questions who got bit first and who bit them. She then assumes that a monkey might have been responsible for this.
Joel is surprised to see that Ellie doesn’t know about this. He thought they taught this in schools. It turns out that FEDRA schools don’t teach how their government failed to prevent a pandemic.
Joel then reveals that no one knows for sure how Cordyceps spread, but it is believed that it mutated and got into some of the food supply, most likely in basic ingredients such as flour or sugar.
The woman Ibu Ratna examined also worked at a flour and grain factory. There were certain brands of food sold everywhere around the world.
If a person eats enough of the infected food, they get infected too. The tainted food made its way to the stores on Thursday. People bought it and ate some of it the same evening and some of it the next day in the morning.
By Friday night, it started getting worse, and by Monday, everything was gone. Upon hearing all of this, Ellie agreed that this reason made more sense than the monkeys.