Possibility of 'Contagion' Frighteningly Real
It’s probably no accident a blockbuster disaster movie called Contagion hit screens just before the start of flu season. But a real-life, out-of-control pandemic is not out of the realm of possibility.
"Contagion’s" culprit is modeled after severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the virus that caused a worldwide panic in 2003 but fizzled out after causing few deaths. In the movie, the deadly virus travels quickly and insidiously throughout the globe, courtesy of high-speed air travel. Unlike the SARS dud, however, the Contagion virus’ target is more deadly.
"Viruses can attack the central nervous system," says Debra Spicehandler, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at Northern Westchester Hospital.
While the celluloid assertion is believable, it’s still just a movie, and Hollywood’s hot spotlight does not a pandemic make. The question – regardless of whether you’ve seen the movie – is: could it really happen? The answer is yes.
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