The Last of Us Episode 4: How are cattle and animals still alive?

An image of Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us HBO show.HBO

In The Last of Us Episode 4, Joel and Ellie drive by a field full of buffalos – but how are cattle still alive, and are they immune to Cordyceps?

In Episode 2, a theory surrounding the Cordyceps outbreak was effectively confirmed: the disease spread through flour and basic food supplies shipped from Jakarta, ensuring a global pandemic.

After 20 years, tinned food is king, but smugglers are known to get their hands on mouth-watering items from time to time, like the chicken in Ellie’s sandwich.

In Episode 4, as Joel and Ellie drove towards Kansas City, they passed derelict theme parks, towns with overgrown weeds, and a field of cattle – but how are they alive?

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How do cattle survive in The Last of Us?

It’s simple: cattle aren’t immune to Cordyceps in The Last of Us, but they’re found in areas considered “too remote” for infected people, miles outside cities where the buildup and risk is far higher.

In The Last of Us game, you encounter lots of animals who’ve not been infected by the disease, such as giraffes, dogs, horses, and deer.

One major exception is monkeys. When Joel and Ellie arrive at the University of Eastern Colorado, they find several monkeys, and it’s revealed in a recording that others were involved in lab tests with Cordyceps earlier in the pandemic.

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While some of the monkeys were infected, none of them appeared to show the same signs of fungal infection seen in humans. However, they were able to pass the infection onto people, with one member of the Fireflies taking his own life after being bitten by a monkey.

“I’m glad we didn’t mess with those monkeys,” Joel jokes after listening to the tape.

It’s possible that cattle and other domestic animals could be infected with Cordyceps, but it seems we wouldn’t know unless they had visible bite marks.

The Last of Us Episode 5 will be available to watch early on February 10 in the US and February 11 in the UK. You can check out the rest of our coverage here, and the trailer for the weeks ahead here.

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