When I was thirteen years old I saw the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Though it was not advertised as a horror movie, it should have been. The very realistic looking apes that allegedly take over the world was not the part that frightened me. The scariest part of the whole movie were the final credits which rolled over a background of the globe becoming infected with a deadly disease.
Here is a bit of backstory, in the movie there is a scientist who is working towards finding the cure for Alzheimer's but instead creates the insanely contagious and highly dangerous virus known as the Simian Flu.
An unknowingly infected pilot goes to the airport and as he walks away we see a drop of blood fall from his nose (nosebleeds are a symptom of the flu.) The pilot has already contaminated people in the airport and on his flight which is headed to Europe. This is the part where the credits are going and we start to see little dots fill up the globe. What began as a single dot in California was now a fast-paced wave of blue dots that were filling in the globe.
How realistic was that part of the movie? Honestly, possibly much more so than I wish. It is uncommon that with modern medicine and technology that we experience such outbreaks as the one alluded to in the movie however, it's not impossible. A few years ago there was the Swine Flu and more recently the Ebola epidemic.
In 2014 the world was on high alert as an outbreak of the Ebola Virus was breaking headlines. It began in West Africa where it quickly spread through villages of people who did not know what was wrong or that they were infected accidentally infected others. Many people were sick and dying and nobody knew how to stop it, actually almost nobody knew it was happening for a while.
Within three months of the first death from Ebola, over fifty others were dead. This is when the government stepped in and called for reinforcements from Doctors Without Borders. Sadly, Doctors Without Borders lacked enough resources to even dent the outbreak, the WHO (World Health Organization) was notified. They, however, decided to leave the responsibilities to the local Guinea government who had no experience with Ebola. This was the WHO first major misstep. Ebola began to spread across western Africa.
The second misstep was when WHO did not announce an international health emergency so as to avoid panic. When Ebola reached the United States, WHO declared an international emergency.
Another epidemic, SARS, was also not considered an international health emergency until reaching North America. Again, the WHO had taken too long to alert the general public. In their defense, Chinese leaders had originally fabricated the reported severity of the breakout.
At this point, it has been years since either of the diseases listed above have had any reported cases. In the long run, WHO did it’s job but could they have done it better? Yes, there may have been chances to save lives but it is sometimes hard to tell severity without seeing it in person. In the case of SARS, the WHO was able to run a dress rehearsal of their most intense, possibly detrimental plan. A plan that is saved for something like you see in the movies, a plan in case Rise of the Planet of the Apes becomes a reality.