Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CDC Scientists ID New Killer Germ, but What Should They Call It?

By Theresa Tamkins

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I just returned from the sprawling campus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. This huge federal agency is on the front line of fighting just about every kind of health threat, from biological weapons to dengue fever to obesity—both in the United States and abroad. (They have 14,000 employees in countries around the world).
But more importantly (for glamour-seeking sci-fi fans), the CDC has played a starring role in just about every apocalyptic movie or book ever made, from Stephen King’s The Stand to Richard Preston’s Hot Zone. Will Smith researched his role in I Am Legend by chatting with CDC scientists. (Yes, he is as nice as he seems, CDC insiders say.)
So is working at the CDC as exciting as the movies make it out to be? Well, yes. On the day I was there for a tour, I met Pierre Rollin, MD, of the Special Pathogens Branch, who had just come from a meeting to discuss a name for a new killer virus. Read More

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