According to the BBC, scientists are suggesting that the outbreak of a deadly virtual disease might give an insight into the outbreak of epidemics in the real world. In particular, they are invesitgating player reactions to the “Corrupted Blood” plague that took place a couple of years ago.

Researcher Professor Nina Fefferman, from Tufts University School of Medicine, said: “Human behaviour has a big impact on disease spread. And virtual worlds offer an excellent platform for studying human behaviour. The players seemed to really feel they were at risk and took the threat of infection seriously, even though it was only a game.”

So, next time your partner/parent/child/employer asks how you can be spending so much time playing a stupid game, tell them you’re taking part in a medical experiment.