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Federal Eye
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 09/12/2011

Could ‘Contagion’ happen for real? (Video)

The Federal Eye spent part of his weekend seeing the new movie “Contagion,” which stars a coterie of Hollywood elite who fall victim to a mysterious virus that is quickly spreading around the world.

Lest you think it’s one of those overly dramatic, over-acted big-budget thrillers, it’s not. It’s a studied, real-life look at how a few sick people could trigger the eventual deaths of millions. Go see it. Then wash your hands and stop coughing on people.

What’s equally interesting is that the film’s producers worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make the movie as accurate as possible.

On Monday morning, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said the film is true to form and that the scenario portrayed is “quite plausible.”

“We are all connected by the food we eat and the water we drink and the air we breathe,” Frieden said on CBS’s “The Early Show.” “The CDC and our partners identifies one new pathogen each year; we investigate one new one each day. Something like this can happen. And even in our own lifetime, if you think about HIV, more than 25 million people have been killed by HIV around the world.”

He said that it’s “important that people understand there are people at the local, state, federal, and global levels who are working to track what is happening so that we can prevent this from happening.”

But Frieden warned that state and local government budget cuts means about 45,000 public health professionals have lost their jobs in recent years.

“Those were many of the people who would detect and respond to an outbreak, such as this one,” he said.

So, in the absence of trained professionals, keep washing your hands, people, Okay?

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 09/12/2011

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