Level 4 pathogens are quite simply, the nastiest causes of disease ever discovered. Scientifically speaking, they are organisms that cause severe diseases to humans and are serious work hazards in the laboratory. They also present high risk of epidemics and there are usually no effective treatments yet discovered.
Actual examples include Lassa fever, filoviruses, smallpox, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Russian spring-summer encephalitis, Kyasanur forest. It is important to take not that each of these examples has garnered a huge media following and they usually spill over from medical concerns to socio-political.
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The Russian spring-summer encephalitis for one has been given global concern due to its research possibilities as a biological weapon. The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever was known to have claimed hundreds of lives in an epidemic that transpired in the Afghan border in 2001. This means that a docudrama made about level 4 pathogens isn’t just “egghead stuff”, the humanitarian side of the topic has great media value, even more so is the political side. If we look prominent television series such as 24 or Pandemic, they both feature fictional presentations of the “what-ifs” concerning level 4 pathogens.
There are also several fictional movies that have garnered success on the genre such as Epidemic (1987), Andromeda Strain (1971) and several others. There are also real-life adaptations which garnered international acclaim such as Lorenzo’s Oil (1993). A docudrama on dangerous viruses can bring a factual spice to the fictional take on the genre. It can spur emotions from amazement the audience with its accurate presentation of just how these viruses are handled by specialized crew and the emotions behind them as they go about their work.
Such a film can also bring out real-life fear from the viewers when presented with how dangerous a particular newly discovered strain of Ebola is or how likely a new undetectable virus can be used as a biological weapon by terrorists. References Biological Weapons: How Big is the Threat? Retrieved April 22, 2007, from Society for General Microbiology Website: http://www. sgm. ac. uk/news/hot_topics/bio_weapons. cfm Disease DVD movies at Video Universe Retrieved April 22, 2007 from Video Universe Website: http://www.
cduniverse. com/search/xx/movie/category2/3459/a/Diseases. htm Classification of Viral Pathogens into Hazard Groups Retrieved April 22, 2007 from http://virology-online. com/general/Safety2. htm Willet, E. (1999). Level 4 Labs. Retrieved April 22, 2007, from http://www. edwardwillett. com/Columns/level4labs. htm Butcher, T. (2001) Ebola Style Killer Sweeps Afghan Border. Retrieved April 22, 2007 from Telegraph. co. uk Website: http://www. telegraph. co. uk/news/main. jhtml? xml=/news/2001/10/04/wref04. xml
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