CDC: Plot of 'Contagion' not so farfetched

Tuesday - 9/27/2011, 8:42am EDT

Dr. Barbara Reynolds, senior crisis communication adviser, CDC

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The filmmakers of the latest Hollywood thriller "Contagion" — about a deadly virus and the scientists working to control it — had some true experts helping them behind the scenes.

The producers worked with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create an accurate portrayal of how an outbreak might happen — and how it might be handled — in real life.

(Photo courtesy of CDC)

The final product is "a very realistic story but not a documentary," said Dr. Barbara Reynolds, the senior crisis communication adviser at the CDC, in an interview with the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris.

Consulting with Hollywood was a way to put "a dash of realism" into a fictional storyline, Reynolds said. In fact, parts of the movie were shot in CDC facilities, she said.

In the real-world, CDC is constantly on the lookout for new, infectious diseases.

"We went into this thinking it might be an opportunity to educate people about the very real work we do about protecting America from major health threats," Reynolds said.