Tuesday, May 09, 2006


From Rueters : A film about a fictional bird flu pandemic that will air on (US) television on Tuesday has experts worried it will panic some people and convince others that legitimate warnings are mere hype.

But the same experts are taking advantage of publicity surrounding the made-for-television movie to stress what they see as the need for individuals, businesses and local officials to do what they can to prepare.

"Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" features scenes with actors wearing spacesuit-like protective gear, a terrified populace and an ending scene in which most residents of an African village lie dead.

"I am not happy," said Mike Osterholm, a University of Minnesota public health expert who has been warning about and consulting on the threat of an influenza pandemic.

"I worry that this could very well be portrayed by many as ultimate example of sensationalism..."

From The Hollywood Reporter : This chilling made-for-TV pic that's designed to look and feel like a contemporary nightmare docudrama....delivers the goods with a wallop to the gut, taking some heavy-handed liberties in telling the to-date fictitious story of an avian flu pandemic but revealing a greater sense of authenticity than most reality shows.

The fact that "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" is so disturbingly timely adds to its impact... And while there is an inevitable overheated quality to much of the dialogue, its focus and tone are steeped more in sobering "what if?" than alarmist "we're doomed!" This isn't to say it isn't distinguished by some particularly graphic scenes of blood-seeping medical calamity.

Playing like a page-turning thriller, "Fatal Contact" opens with a depiction of Patient Zero in the depicted outbreak: an American businessman who flies to Hong Kong to meet with his Asian manufacturers and winds up falling violently ill.

It's traced to a new strain of avian flu virus discovered by the World Health Organization in a Hong Kong marketplace. More than a million birds suspected of infection are destroyed to eradicate the strain, to no avail. The virus leaps from its bird hosts and is suddenly communicable via human-to-human contact.

This is pretty much the ultimate health catastrophe, a virulent disease that's so contagious and spreads with frightening speed via microbes that take to permeating the atmosphere

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