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The Disease Detectives

Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears in the thriller Contagion. Winslet's character was modeled on CDC epidemiologist Dr. Anne Schuchat.
Claudette Barius
/
Warner Bro. Pictures

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a special team of epidemiologists called the Epidemic Intelligence Service, aka the disease detectives. Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy director of the CDC, was a disease detective during the SARS outbreak in 2003. We talked to her about the work the disease detectives do, the risk of global pandemics, and what keeps her up at night.

Music: "Black Waxploitation", "Time For Action", "Strange Evidence",

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Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.
Darius Rafieyan joined NPR in 2017 as the founding producer of The Indicator from Planet Money. He has produced stories about infectious disease outbreaks, the world's greatest air salesman, and the economics of Tinder.