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Submitted By antoniajns
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Antonia Jones
Franklin University
Global Health
July 20, 2014

Contagious is the movie I chose to review and I found it to be very interesting and also has the potential to be true. The name was extremely fitting as being “contagious” is how the unknown disease was spread. The disease was initiated in Hong Kong which was found to be the source after millions were already exposed. A woman on a business trip from U.S was exposed in Hong Kong and contracted dozens through her travels at the airports and other locations which lead to the spreading of the strand to various states. Since the unknown disease is highly contagious, everything that she or any infected person touched was vulnerable. The initial contact was in a casino in Hong Kong and was spread through contact with a sick person or something that they touched. After various cities, states, and countries were exposed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) were involved. The disease has the potential to harm more than 1% of the world’s population, which equates to 70-80 million people. As with any other new disease there are too many variables to consider, symptoms, affected locations, susceptible patients, and ways of transmission to name a few. In the beginning multiple perspectives were provided to determine how the disease was both contracted and transmitted, different scenarios were taken into consideration until the cause was determined.
The director of the movie focused on seeking a cure for the disease in Contagion once it affected thousands of people in different parts of the world. There were commonalities with symptoms and time frame between contraction and death and the rapid spread of the disease and the demise of the ones contracted. The impetus for the research for the cure was the epidemic and the vast majority of the people that were being infected. Research was being conducted in various parts of the world to determine the strand of the disease in order to pinpoint how to track the way it was being spread and how to create the vaccine to cure it. In the beginning the disease had a mortality rate of 25-30% based on individual health status. It was determined that one in twelve would come in contact with the disease. The research was pushed through to limited drug agencies because 26 million lives were taken from the disease within the first 131 days. The CDC chose to isolate those that were sick and quarantine those that were exposed to make an effort to contain the disease.
The origin of the disease was confirmed in Hong Kong but rapidly spread through Minnesota, Illinois, California, Japan, Utah, England, London, China, and Switzerland. No particular cultural factors played a role; the disease was not biased; women, men, children, elderly, and all walks of life were affected. The first stated origin was considered to be fish, which was quickly ruled out once more sources of information (patients) were presented. It was discovered that the origin of the disease was derived from a pig and bat, somehow the strands were intertwined and was attaching its self to humans through the respiratory system and spread rapidly and effected many organs including the nervous system. The more people who came in contact with the disease, the more information provided.
The plot of the movie is extremely plausible; it started from food contact in a kitchen from a pig from Hong Kong and direct contact with an American on a business trip. Since the disease affects the respiratory system, there is no mystery that she could have easily ingested or inhaled the strand of the disease. The movie stated that we touch our faces at minimum 3500 times in a 24 hour period, not to include all unsanitary surfaces that we touch throughout the day. Germs can be easily spread by touching door handles, water fountains, public facilities, and countless other surfaces. With that being said the story could very well be true and could affect millions of people. The way that the disease is transmitted makes it believable.
From my perspective, I did not see any points in the movie that were unrealistic. The facts that a cure was found but it was not widely distributed in “nick of time” to cure those infected was believable. Creating a cure for new disease is a hard task because there are so many things to consider. If the disease were true, I think it could have been based on a true story. The method that it was transmitted could be true do to it being highly contagious. An airport is a scary way for a disease to be distributed, with so many travelers from different parts of the world and so much potential for germs to live and lay dormant on surfaces. For a person who has never witnessed such a disease, I think it would make them more aware of their surroundings and take more precautions in sanitizing and hand washing practices. I can not come up with a scenario that would make Contagion more realistic, even the CDC, WHO, and governments role in the movie I believe to be true. You would think that because the government is suppose to be for the people, by the people but internally I believe they would take care of their own first as depicted in the movie.

1. Soderbergh, S. (Director).(2011). Contagion (Motion Pictures). Warner Brothers.

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