Pandemic Heroes: Saving Humankind on the Big Screen

by Christos Lynteris

Even in the midst of widely publicized public health emergencies, like the recent Ebola outbreak, epidemiologists largely remain invisible to the general public. Though the figure of hazmated healthcare and epidemic control staff has become perennial, the only glimpse we get of the epidemiologists is the odd press conference clip. This renders fictional representations of epidemiologists the most readily available source for public culture configurations of their role in contemporary emergencies. Films like Outbreak and Contagion, which revolve around the story of a infectious disease pandemic, as well as World War Z or the recent remakes of The Planet of the Apes, which would be more readily recognized as belonging to the sphere of science fiction, have all in their time achieved blockbuster levels of success.