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Animal Planet Series to Feature CDC Experts

Published: April 12, 2011

'Killer Outbreaks' logo

The TV network, Animal Planet, is scheduled to air six episodes of their new series "Killer Outbreaks" beginning April 15, 2011. Each episode features potentially deadly viruses and includes commentary from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts and victims of the outbreak. The show takes what many CDC staff do for a living and turns it into a thrilling docu-drama.

Lights Camera Action

Animal Planet has six full episodes ready to air this season, and will continue shooting for season two if the series is successful. Killer Outbreak began production in March 2010 and in total, producers interviewed 43 subject matter experts from across the CDC.

Tune In

The first episode will air April 15 at 9 p.m. Killer Outbreaks demonstrates that you don't have to travel to exotic places to find bizarre outbreaks—they happen right here in our own backyards. And while everyone is vulnerable, there are scientists and doctors who are true heroes, ready and waiting for the next outbreak.

In this season, six episodes will cover Anthrax, E. coli, Hantavirus, Rabies, West Nile, Monkey Pox, Acinetobacter Baumannii, Salmonella, Valley Fever, Meningococcal Disease, SARS and MRSA.

Episode 1: The Every Day Turns Devastating
Premieres April 15, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

Experts from the CDC, the New York City Police Department and the FBI team up and respond to the threat of New York City's first biological attack since 2001: anthrax. If these microscopic and deadly spores are loose in New York City, millions of lives are at risk, and it's up to these teams to trace them. Meanwhile, a man's life hangs in the balance as he becomes the first human recipient of the CDC's experimental Anthrax treatment. Then, the CDC detects a mysterious illness that is targeting young girls across the country and bringing them to the brink of death. With the CDC's team of investigators struggling to determine the cause of the infection before lives are lost, Karen, a young CDC epidemic intelligence officer with unconventional techniques, might just solve the mystery.

Episode 2: Fatal Infestations
Premieres April 22, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

The collapse of 60-year-old Enrico, an avid New York gardener, begins a citywide epidemic. Just being outdoors is a potential death sentence as New York City is terrorized by an invasion of deadly mosquitoes. In another story, the CDC, the U.S. Army and a determined Bronx Zoo veterinarian join forces to identify the disease that is rapidly filling the city's emergency rooms and curiously killing 17,000 crows and zoo birds in New York City. Also, an unidentified virus tears through the Southwest causing sudden death among young healthy victims. When a Navajo couple becomes the first to die without warning, appearing to drown from within, the CDC's special pathogens branch works day and night to track and halt the killer on the prowl. What they find is a killer without a cure.

Episode 3: Deadly Animals Among Us
Premieres April 29, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

When 17-year-old Joshua is admitted to a hospital in Dallas to receive a new kidney, his family thinks he is getting a second chance at life. Instead, Joshua becomes one of a string of patients who exhibits bizarre, manic behavior before lapsing into a coma. The common link: all these patients just received organs from the same donor. When the strange symptoms result in multiple deaths, the hospital doctors alert the labs at the CDC. With top pathologists and investigators working around the clock to identify the killer, they discover the unexpected. Then, in the Midwest, a mysterious and terrifying pox outbreak has left more than 70 patients plagued by strange, pus-filled lesions. When two young girls from across the country are quarantined and at the brink of death, CDC investigators race to determine whether smallpox—once one of the deadliest diseases in the history of mankind—has made an unexpected return. Or, could it be something else?

Episode 4: Blood Sport
Premieres May 6, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

Something's striking down men in the college town of Fort Collins, Colorado. A healthy father of two awakes one night with violent flu-like symptoms. He's rushed to the hospital, but in the matter of days, this healthy young man goes from the peak of health to death's door. Peculiarly, several more men arrive at the same Fort Collins hospital, all who unfortunately pass away from what appears to be the same unknown disease. And, two states away, a Fort Collins resident's vacation becomes a nightmare as he's rushed to a nearby hospital covered in sores. Within hours, he goes into respiratory distress and is leaking blood from his extremities. Autopsies from deceased patients point to meningiccocal disease, a disease that can claim its victims within the first 24 hours. With a killer that could be spread with from a simple touch of a friend, local experts and scientists from the CDC works to isolate the strain of the disease and block a massive outbreak. But what did all these once-healthy men have in common? Any clues can put the brakes on a massive outbreak. Then in another story, an elderly woman, who just returned from China, is rushed to a Northern Virginia hospital. She gasps for air while her lungs fill with fluid. Worried that the patient's symptoms may be contagious, doctors put her in full isolation while they call for help. Ironically, scientists from the CDC have already been tracking an elusive killer—SARS—on the other side of the world. Has this woman brought the terrifying disease to US soil?

Episode 5: Valley of Death
Premieres May 13, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

When a huge earthquake hits California, thousands of homes are condemned as dangerous and unlivable. A resident rushes to check in on his father after the earthquake. As they pick up the shattered remains of their home, the father is plagued by a persistent cough. Within days, his hands turn black, and he lapses into a coma. Across town, single mother Michelle and her young son are forced to seek shelter with her closest friend. As they band together, Michelle suffers days of searing headaches and night sweats, and soon, her arms erupt in weeping lesions. In the ICU, she is placed in quarantine while doctors desperately search for answers. As emergency rooms fill, local experts and the CDC fear the worst—a deadly fever is spreading quickly, and it's likely caused by a fungus released by the earthquake. Mimicking the human cell, this fatal fungus is nearly impossible to kill without annihilating its host. In a fight for her survival, Michelle must brave a treatment for this killer that could be worse than death itself. Then in another story, a horrendous bacterial outbreak forces one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history, taking victims of all ages on a terrifying roller coaster of fear and pain. In Texas, a three-year-old boy suddenly collapses. His mother rushes him to the hospital where a battery of tests reveals that his immune system is waging a war with a lethal infection called Salmonella Enteritidis, a bacterium found in eggs. In CDC headquarters in Atlanta, more than a thousand reports from across the country are enough to sound the alarms of a major national outbreak. And because there are so many egg distributors in the United States—with up to 40 billion eggs produced each year—it's a relentless race against time to pinpoint the source of this disastrous outbreak.

Episode 6: Terrorist Within
Premieres May 20, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

A sergeant in the Iraq gets caught in an explosion. He's rushed to a surgical tent in the desert where doctors work feverously to stop the bleeding and remove shrapnel. But by the time the sergeant arrives at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, a far more menacing problem brews from beneath the surface. Extensive injuries have left the sergeant defenseless against incredibly powerful mutant bacteria. And like hundreds of men and women returning from the front lines, David has been colonized by "Iraqibacter" the more common name to acinetobacter baumannii. Strangely, a 21-year-old pregnant woman suffers an onset of severe symptoms, and soon she endures series of terrifying events: pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and an emergency C-section at only six months pregnant. But before her fight is over, she will suffer the same threat that's menacing the sergeant many states away. Can local doctors and CDC experts find the source of this deadly pathogen, or is it already too late? Then in another story, a mother from Virginia finds her teenage son writhing in a fetal position and screaming in pain. In the ER, the teen's downhill slide has doctors scrambling from one catastrophic failure to the next. And, in Wisconsin, an active 13-year old suffers a fever and severe pain in his leg. Then, to his mother's horror, he begins coughing up blood. Doctors discover lesions in his lungs and a massive blood clot. If they can't uncover the cause of the life threatening infection, DaVonte faces amputation or death. Both formerly vibrant, healthy, athletic boys are diagnosed with a deadly rogue infection: MRSA. Once confined to the domain of hospitals, the bacterium has adapted and moved outward to infiltrate our communities. The CDC is flooded with reports of severe illness in children across the country—an invisible assassin is on nationwide killing spree.

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