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During the first episode of Season 3, I noticed the group is now very cavalier about taking down walkers:

AWWWW!!

This is a staunch contrast from the first season when they covered themselves in walker parts to get through Atlanta. I don't have that scene handy but, in my mind, it seems like they were very cautious in how they covered themselves (e.g. seemed like they were wearing HAZMAT suits).

I understand that, as time passes, the characters learn more Walker do's and don'ts; but I was under the impression if Walker blood got in their system, they would turn.

Is this true or have I imagined this rule?

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I do remember the twist of S2 being they are already infected with the disease. Either with that in mind (I'm already sick so w.e) or possibly just a plot flub. –  TylerShads Oct 18 '12 at 13:50
    
I gave up looking for plot consistency in TWD a while ago, but there's a discussion on this topic going on at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/12056/… that you might be interested in. –  kekekela Oct 18 '12 at 17:24
    
@ray023 - is there something else you were looking for or a concern with the answers given? –  dmcgill50 May 2 '13 at 22:26
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2 Answers

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I think that they may be modeling the initial fear and then subsequent relaxing of fears in the same way HIV/AIDS was viewed initially.

At first it was believed that being around people that were infected would cause you to be infected as well(drinking after someone, etc), but this was eventually dispelled.

From the Dr. at the CDC, Rick learns that they have all been infected and carry a dormant form of the zombie disease, but being bitten, scratched or dying accelerates the progression.

In the case of Herschel and his leg, we see that if you are able to remove the infection quick enough, one can survive a bite.

This may have been different in season 1, where you see several examples of people committing suicide or dying without turning. In Season 3 and going forward, I think its understood that you don't turn till you are attacked and/or die.

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Not following, "Universal Precautions", is a bad idea...no way is the virus selective about how it gets in your system...if a walker's blood mixes with yours, you are in trouble...it's the same as a bite or dying...so they're just taking a huge chance, or the writers aren't thinking it through correctly.

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