As researchers working in the fields of genomics, infection and epidemiology, we chose to write about Contagion for this issue. It wasn't much of a choice, a quick bit of Internet research confirmed that there aren't many films about infectious diseases, outbreaks and epidemiology, with the exception of the fairly terrible Outbreak (1995), and the 1970s-tastic sci-fi thriller The Andromeda Strain. What we do have plenty of are zombie flicks, and the parallels to outbreaks have been well recognized. Often starting with a virus or uncharacterized pathogen, zombie films exploit the nature of contagion as ever greater numbers of the population are infected, usually with the film's heroic (World War Z) or hapless (Shaun of the Dead) protagonist tasked with rescuing humanity, or at least staying alive.

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