Washington Health Sec.: Contagion Movie Is Very Real

Contagion[Note spoilers below and in the link.] Josh Kirns amps up fear of contagious diseases for Mynorthwest.com:

Talk about a horror movie. The global outbreak thriller “Contagion” topped the weekend box office and it prompted a lot of extra hand washing and increased hesitance to touch door knobs, hand rails, or just about anything else we all come in contact with. Of course it’s prompting many to ask if the fictional story of an unknown virus spreading around the world in a matter of days can come true.

“What was rolling around in my mind was when SARS happened,” Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky told Seattle’s Morning News on 97.3 KIRO FM. “And then of course, there was H1N1 (commonly known as Swine Flu,) it was an unknown novel virus just like in the movie.”

She said just like in the movie, we didn’t know what it was or how to treat it, and we didn’t have a vaccine. Of course, the big difference is 14 million die in the film (including superstars Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.)

Selecky said “Contagion” does a good job of showing what public health experts do to try and identify and stop the spread of infectious diseases.

But she says the biggest outbreak we should worry about is what she calls an “epidemic of fear” that could cause rioting, looting, or other break downs in society. She said it was most recently on display amidst the worries of radiation spread after the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami that destroyed the Fukishima nuclear power plant. “That epidemic of fear sent people to grocery stores to empty shelves and things like that,” she said…

[continues at Mynorthwest.com]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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39 Comments on "Washington Health Sec.: Contagion Movie Is Very Real"

  1. Please, the Japanese must be the lost polite rioters and looters in history then. 
    At any rate, the higher populations get, the more likely something like this will become real.

  2. Please, the Japanese must be the lost polite rioters and looters in history then. 
    At any rate, the higher populations get, the more likely something like this will become real.

  3. Anarchy Pony | Sep 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm |

    Please, the Japanese must be the lost polite rioters and looters in history then. 
    At any rate, the higher populations get, the more likely something like this will become real.

    • Anarchy Pony | Sep 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

      I meant most not lost…

    • Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 9:11 am |

      Right?  If the Japanese “rioted” and “looted”, what would you call the panicked response in the States?  When watching the news I would hear anchormen start with “panicking in Japan!” and cut to a video of Japanese people calmly waiting in line at a local market.  I have a few friends in Japan, all of them said the news coverage in the states completely exaggerated the reaction of the Japanese.  

      • Anarchy Pony | Sep 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

        Well I remember seeing the vids, and just thought “Rioting? WTF are they talking about?”  I think it may because USans can’t imagine an empty grocery store shelf.

  4. Anonymous | Sep 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    Thanks for letting us know who dies in the film…………………

  5. Milhuisen | Sep 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm |

    Thanks for letting us know who dies in the film…………………

  6. I meant most not lost…

  7. I meant most not lost…

  8. Hah… H1N1 unknown? no.. “swine flu” was a name used to confuse people into thinking it was  both unknown, and maybe actually dangerous. “swine flu” was a strain of the H1N1 virus, which was very much known, as it had not been the first outbreak of it. It is just a named strain of the flu virus, no more.

    There was nothing new or exciting about the H1N1 virus except for the fact that before the outbreak, the WHO changed the definition of “pandemic” removing the criteria that it actually had a significant risk of killing people. Now, any disease that is across numerous nations can be declared a “pandemic” emergency, independent of the actual danger of the disease.

  9. Hah… H1N1 unknown? no.. “swine flu” was a name used to confuse people into thinking it was  both unknown, and maybe actually dangerous. “swine flu” was a strain of the H1N1 virus, which was very much known, as it had not been the first outbreak of it. It is just a named strain of the flu virus, no more.

    There was nothing new or exciting about the H1N1 virus except for the fact that before the outbreak, the WHO changed the definition of “pandemic” removing the criteria that it actually had a significant risk of killing people. Now, any disease that is across numerous nations can be declared a “pandemic” emergency, independent of the actual danger of the disease.

    • A Microbiologist | Sep 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm |

       Wrong.

      It was an extremely odd strain.  Before that outbreak, anyone looking at the novel H1N1 genome would tell you flat out it could never infect a human.  It has a variant of a gene that is only known to infect birds and pigs.

      It causes gastrointestinal distress at a much, much higher rate than normal influenza.  It is much more likely to cause primary viral influenza as well.

      The early reports of the disease were very concerning.  It seemed to be striking the children and healthy adults instead of the elderly, the hallmark of an extremely virulence influenza strain.  Thankfully, they were not entirely correct (the Mexican agencies weren’t reporting the mild cases since they only type the severe ones, skewing the results).

      Thankfully it wasn’t that bad.  It’s still a harsh reminder of how quickly a novel strain can jump species, and novel influenza strains are no laughing manner.

      • Ok i’ll take it on faith that you are a microbiologist; I am not; however, I think i have someone here who is much more knowledgable about this specific disease. Theres a lot of information, but one part that sicks out is that the H1N1 virus was no more deadly than the common flu, and, if we treated every couple of cases of the flu like we did H1N1, then we’d have problems.

        There are also many more sketchy political issues, but I’ll let the one with the information speak:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0JqQyl09zQ

  10. Korey Roberts | Sep 13, 2011 at 2:20 am |

    I know, not a Spoiler Warning in sight.

  11. A Microbiologist | Sep 13, 2011 at 3:00 am |

     Wrong.

    It was an extremely odd strain.  Before that outbreak, anyone looking at the novel H1N1 genome would tell you flat out it could never infect a human.  It has a variant of a gene that is only known to infect birds and pigs.

    It causes gastrointestinal distress at a much, much higher rate than normal influenza.  It is much more likely to cause primary viral influenza as well.

    The early reports of the disease were very concerning.  It seemed to be striking the children and healthy adults instead of the elderly, the hallmark of an extremely virulence influenza strain.  Thankfully, they were not entirely correct (the Mexican agencies weren’t reporting the mild cases since they only type the severe ones, skewing the results).

    Thankfully it wasn’t that bad.  It’s still a harsh reminder of how quickly a novel strain can jump species, and novel influenza strains are no laughing manner.

  12. Ultramegax | Sep 13, 2011 at 3:05 am |

    Nice spoilers, bro.

  13. Ultramegax | Sep 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm |

    Nice spoilers, bro.

    • I know right? Effing hell.

      • Ronniedobbs | Sep 13, 2011 at 7:17 am |

        What do you think the move would be about?  All the main characters call in to work sick, stay home and have Sprite and Chicken Noodle Soup and then go back to work the following day?

  14. Anonymous | Sep 13, 2011 at 3:46 am |

    I know right? Effing hell.

  15. Ok i’ll take it on faith that you are a microbiologist; I am not; however, I think i have someone here who is much more knowledgable about this specific disease. Theres a lot of information, but one part that sicks out is that the H1N1 virus was no more deadly than the common flu, and, if we treated every couple of cases of the flu like we did H1N1, then we’d have problems.

    There are also many more sketchy political issues, but I’ll let the one with the information speak:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0JqQyl09zQ

  16. herpyderpderp | Sep 13, 2011 at 6:45 am |

    Can you say spoilers?  Fucking dumbass

  17. herpyderpderp | Sep 13, 2011 at 2:45 am |

    Can you say spoilers?  Fucking dumbass

  18. Yeah, I second that, nice spoilers. I came here on stumbleupon, and you probably just ruined the movie. Take yourself off the internet.

  19. Yeah, I second that, nice spoilers. I came here on stumbleupon, and you probably just ruined the movie. Take yourself off the internet.

  20. Ronniedobbs | Sep 13, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    What do you think the move would be about?  All the main characters call in to work sick, stay home and have Sprite and Chicken Noodle Soup and then go back to work the following day?

  21. Now why is SATAN SON so easily seen in that movie logo?

    The TA and ON actually part of “contagion”.

  22. Now why is SATAN SON so easily seen in that movie logo?

    The TA and ON actually part of “contagion”.

  23. Now why is SATAN SON so easily seen in that movie logo?

    The TA and ON actually part of “contagion”.

  24. Attention Washington, fear mongering is very real. 

  25. Attention Washington, fear mongering is very real. 

  26. Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    Right?  If the Japanese “rioted” and “looted”, what would you call the panicked response in the States?  When watching the news I would hear anchormen start with “panicking in Japan!” and cut to a video of Japanese people calmly waiting in line at a local market.  I have a few friends in Japan, all of them said the news coverage in the states completely exaggerated the reaction of the Japanese.  

  27. Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    Right?  If the Japanese “rioted” and “looted”, what would you call the panicked response in the States?  When watching the news I would hear anchormen start with “panicking in Japan!” and cut to a video of Japanese people calmly waiting in line at a local market.  I have a few friends in Japan, all of them said the news coverage in the states completely exaggerated the reaction of the Japanese.  

  28. Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    Hmmm.  When I first arrived in Asia it was at the height of the H1N1 “epidemic”, and I remember the precautions taken seeming very over-the-top at the time.  I recall wishing someone I knew would come down with a case because that meant I would automatically be told to stay at home in quarantine by my school.  Basically a paid vacation.  Now, though, I see it wasn’t really an overreaction.  Good to know most countries are ready for an actual deadly outbreak.

    This also goes a long way in explaining why a commonly understood Zombie Apocalypse would fail almost immediately.  I know it hurts, but there’s basically zero chance that we’ll ever get to ride around in a post-apocalyptic New York shooting zombies from our 4×4.  Damn shame, really.

  29. Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    Hmmm.  When I first arrived in Asia it was at the height of the H1N1 “epidemic”, and I remember the precautions taken seeming very over-the-top at the time.  I recall wishing someone I knew would come down with a case because that meant I would automatically be told to stay at home in quarantine by my school.  Basically a paid vacation.  Now, though, I see it wasn’t really an overreaction.  Good to know most countries are ready for an actual deadly outbreak.

    This also goes a long way in explaining why a commonly understood Zombie Apocalypse would fail almost immediately.  I know it hurts, but there’s basically zero chance that we’ll ever get to ride around in a post-apocalyptic New York shooting zombies from our 4×4.  Damn shame, really.

  30. Tuna Ghost | Sep 13, 2011 at 9:16 am |

    Hmmm.  When I first arrived in Asia it was at the height of the H1N1 “epidemic”, and I remember the precautions taken seeming very over-the-top at the time.  I recall wishing someone I knew would come down with a case because that meant I would automatically be told to stay at home in quarantine by my school.  Basically a paid vacation.  Now, though, I see it wasn’t really an overreaction.  Good to know most countries are ready for an actual deadly outbreak.

    This also goes a long way in explaining why a commonly understood Zombie Apocalypse would fail almost immediately.  I know it hurts, but there’s basically zero chance that we’ll ever get to ride around in a post-apocalyptic New York shooting zombies from our 4×4.  Damn shame, really.

  31. Well I remember seeing the vids, and just thought “Rioting? WTF are they talking about?”  I think it may because USans can’t imagine an empty grocery store shelf.

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