This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, September 5, 2011

Contagion--Ripped From the Headlines

The new movie "Contagion" hits the movie theaters this coming Friday, but Keith Darce of the San Diego Union has seen it already and obviously likes it--partly because it aims to be "true," and partly because it has a local connection to biotech firms in the region.

The film likely benefited from a trip to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta taken late last year by one of its stars, Kate Winslet, and producers Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, who previously worked together on “Erin Brockovich” and “Pulp Fiction.”
Winslet, who plays a member of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, met with Dr. Anne Schuchat, the assistant surgeon general and director the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Although the genre has an ignoble track record for reflecting reality, the makers of “Contagion” appear to have gone to great lengths to ensure that their film rings true with public health experts as much as it might with moviegoers when it opens Friday.
One scene highlights genetic sequencing, a powerful biological tool that promises to revolutionize the way disease outbreaks are fought.
A pair of San Diego County companies have led the way in creating a new generation of machines capable of mapping the DNA of viruses and bacteria in a matter of hours instead of days and weeks.
Stories like these have been in the news lately, perhaps not coincidentally, and the Centers for Disease Control are all over this:
In an effort to make the most out of “Contagion,” CDC officials are planning a live chat on Twitter Friday night to answer questions from people who see the movie.

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