“Contagion”-movie with Matt Damon et al

We saw “Contagion” last night–as an official function of my position with the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (see astmh.org—and note that students can join and receive a top infectious disease journal for $5.00 per year). The film was excellent in all respects. It is more of a chronicle of a hypothetical event than a film with many subplots, with the setting (an outbreak) only providing a stage for a story about a conflict, or a relationship, or….? This film is scientifically accurate, and the movie is surprisingly tight. The concept of the basic reproductive rate (R0) is explained perfectly, and using everyday terminology. The acting was excellent. Ian Lipkin, a high school classmate and now an epidemiologist at Columbia, as well as a virologist and neurologist, was on the set during filming, to make sure that the technical details, including lab procedure, were correct. It is very difficult to really criticize the film. As Dr. Lipkin said in an interview, this may be a wake up call. I add: the scenarios in the film are entirely possible. Some would say even probable–though I won’t go that far. Go see the film, and if possible, see the IMAX version. Think about it. Learn. But do not say or think, “it can’t happen here.” It can. And I hope that we–the public health infrastructure; government units; everyday citizens–are prepared.


About epihealth

Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and Medical Geography, University of Washington, Seattle. Formerly Adjunct Prof, Depts of Medicine (Div of Infectious Diseases), Family Medicine, Health Services, and Global Health. President, Health Improvement and Promotion Alliance-Ghana www.hip-ghana.org Expertise in infectious diseases, epidemiology and clinical epidemiology, epi. of pain, community health, travel medicine, tuberculosis, disease control.
This entry was posted in Globalization and infectious disease, outbreaks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Contagion”-movie with Matt Damon et al

  1. Sophie says:

    Hello Dr. Mayer,
    I plan on seeing this movie too! It sounds like it was well put together. Thanks for the information about ASMTH. I and my colleague plan on attending the conference in December. I hope you have a good weekend!

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