There's been a lot of criticism of the media during infectious disease outbreaks (current and past) about over-sensationalistic rhetoric that foments fear. However, a recent episode of the television program NCIS: New Orleans really breaks new ground in spreading misinformation.
In the show's latest episode, a navy shipman is found dead of plague and sparks a major investigation. During the course of the show, a litany of misinformation is presented. Some of the inaccuracies:
- Plague in a dead body doesn't isn't particularly contagious to people who haven't even touched the body
- Plague is not unknown to the United States. In fact, cases are diagnosed every year
- There is no vaccine available for plague
- It only requires droplet/contact precautions; not space suits
When Hollywood portrays infectious disease outbreaks with brazen errors (widely known to be false), it is understandable that the general public has myriad questions during real outbreaks.
When there are plenty of actual insoluble infectious disease problems to focus on why does Hollywood need to fabricate erroneous scenarios?