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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Monday, August 27, 2012


I first started working in the world of Pandemic planning in about 2007. The person that had been the Bird Flu point of contact left the Agency, and because I was already working Continuity issues, I sort of became the default for the Bird Flu stuff too. It all fits into the "planning for what to do and how to keep operating when bad things happen" folder, right? Sure...

Since that time, I've worked a lot in the realm of bird flu, general biological threats, some swine flu, then finally more general pandemic / bio combined.  I've worked these at an agency level all the way up to the global level. I've studied biological threats and hazards, and learned probably a significant amount more about the science of diseases than I ever wanted to or thought I would, as well as what would happen if certain diseases were weaponized, either via conventional-type weapons, human vectors, introduction into the food or water supplies, and many other possibilities. I've been involved in working groups tasked with looking at the worst case scenario and figuring out how to plan for it.

So I'm pretty sure that all of the above is why, when we decided to watch Contagion the other night, I sat through it and just kind of nodded and agreed with most of what was happening throughout the movie. It was kinda funny, because I pretty much knew what it was about before watching, and had heard that it was very well done and very believable, but boyfriend thought we were going to be watching some sort of horror-fantasy-zombie movie or something, not something that seemed so realistic. I'm not sure he felt much better when I told him that oh, it didn't just seem realistic, it really was pretty much how we planners saw it going for a worst-case scenario. Especially after the swine flu (and bird flu, for that matter) not being as bad as we originally thought it would be.

I think that anyone involved in the pandemic planning or preparedness worlds should absolutely see this movie, because every bit of it, from attribution to tracking to the reaction of the general public to the chaos that is inevitable in such a scenario is dead on, at least as far as what the experts have said would happen. Someone involved in this movie did their homework. If you haven't been around the topic before it might scare the crap out of you, but even so, I highly recommend this movie. And since I obviously spend a ton of time on this blog talking about movies, that should tell you something :)

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