Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ebola kills nearly 500 health care workers...and spawns a few movies

The Ebola virus has infected more than 800 health care workers, killing nearly 500 of them, according to the latest numbers released by the World Health Organization Wednesday.
The epidemic continues to spread across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and it's now sickened more than 20,000 and killed more than 8,000 people, WHO says. Although clinics have been set up in all three countries, the epidemic is not yet under control.
Funerals and burials are still a major source of disease transmission. Despite efforts to educate people about this and to deploy safe burial teams, it's clear that people are still becoming infected by this route, WHO says.
The new numbers on health care workers show that doctors, nurses and other people working at Ebola treatment centers are among those at highest risk. "A total of 838 health-care workers are known to have been infected with Ebola virus disease up to the end of 4 January 2015, 495 of whom have died," WHO said in a statement.
"The marked increase from the total of 678 health-care worker infections reported last week is due to additional cases reported from Sierra Leone that have occurred since the onset of the epidemic. These are not infections that have occurred between the two most recent reporting periods."

Here’s one way to defuse the tacky sensationalism of AFM schlock-hawking: Apologize in advance. “Is it too soon?” genre seller Rob Hauschild asked the buyers and lookyloos who stopped, did double takes, and even took selfies with the poster for Ebola Zombies this year. He’d break the ice with a smile and a sheepish shrug. “I’m sorry!”
The audacity worked; Hauschild sold Ebola Zombies to Germany and is closing a deal with a Japanese distributor for his Wild Eye Releasing, which saw an estimated 30% increase in foot traffic on the traditionally desolate Loews third floor thanks to the eye-catching gimmick. Not bad for a movie that two weeks ago was called SARS Zombies – nothing a little 11th hour design work couldn’t fix.

“I heard people walking by say, ‘Oh no they didn’t!’ but they’re used to the outrageous at AFM. I think we defused a little of the seriousness of the subject matter with the fact that it’s a zombie film,” Hauschild said. Only a few passersby seemed truly displeased. “There were two African gentlemen who stopped at the poster and had a conversation in their language. They didn’t look so happy.” 

But wait! There’s more z-bola heading our way. British action-horror Plan Z, about an ebola outbreak that mutates into the zombie apocalypse, shared wall space with the much higher brow Martin Scorsese-producedTomorrow on the walls of UK production/sales co. Carnaby International. Both films star British polyglot Stuart Brennan, who has a multi-pic deal with Carnaby.
“It is a sensitive subject matter, so we’ve been delicate with it – we don’t pitch it as an ebola zombie movie,” said Carnaby’s Director of International Sales Tania Sarra. Currently in post, Plan Z will debut at the Berlin market.


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