Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI


Dr. Howard Markel

Director, Center for the History of Medicine, University of Michigan


Captain Martin Cetron, MD

Director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Contagion— Disease Outbreaks

Captain Martin Cetron and Dr. Howard Markel discussed recent outbreaks and how they are depicted in film.

Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

Film Synopsis

Director Steven Soderbergh’s disaster thriller follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days.

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels to jet lag. However, two days later, Beth is dead, and doctors tell her husband (Matt Damon) that they have no idea what killed her. Soon, many others start to exhibit the same symptoms, and a worldwide pandemic erupts. Doctors try to contain the lethal microbe, but society begins to collapse as a blogger (Jude Law) fans the flames of paranoia.

About the Speaker

Howard Markel, MD, PhD, is a physician, author, editor, professor, and medical historian. Dr. Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the University of Michigan's Center for the History of Medicine. He is also professor of psychiatry, health management and policy, history, and pediatrics and communicable diseases. Dr. Markel writes extensively on major topics and figures in the history of medicine and public health, is a best-selling author, and is editor-in-chief of the health care policy journal The Milbank Quarterly.

Captain Martin Cetron, MD
, is director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). He previously served as director of DGMQ when it was within the National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases. DGMQ's mission is to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases into the United States and to prevent morbidity and mortality among immigrants, refugees, migrant workers, and international travelers. Dr. Cetron's primary research interest is international health and global migration, with a focus on emerging infections, tropical diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases in mobile populations.