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Invisible Killers: Ebola, influenza and smallpox examined on Discovery and Science Channel

The smallest killers on Earth are viruses — but have the potential to wipe out millions of people

The three biggest killers in the deadly virus world, Ebola, influenza and Smallpox, will be examined in gnarly detail on Discovery and the Science Channel.

The Invisible Killers series promise a front-row seat to the unseen world, where tiny viruses can level and kill a human being in days.

Timing is everything as Discovery, whose producers worked three years preparing this, are banking on one of the year’s worst influenza outbreaks spurring interest in this frankly alarming docuseries.

The network announced the series today, calling influenza, smallpox, and Ebola “among the three most lethal viruses ever to have plagued mankind”.

Producers got interviews with officials from the CDC, World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and insights from United Nations experts as well as homeland security officers and biosecurity experts.

Covered is the ancient disfiguring smallpox virus, believed to have originated in India or Egypt, which killed more people than all the wars in human history.

Not to frighten readers, but the American and the Russian governments along with Iraq, North Korea and France have live smallpox preserved for reasons not entirely known.

Then, common influenza or “flu” is studied on March 29, a virus which mutates annually and “spreads like wildfire” killing the especially immune system compromised, the very young and the old.

“We’ve got to be able to look in our crystal ball and say, ‘Okay, six months from now which ones of these thousands and thousands of strains are likely to be circulating then? What’s our best guess?’” said Dr. David Morens, Senior Scientific Advisor, NIAID/NIH. “And then we have to make that vaccine.”

Lastly, the showboat killer virus, Ebola, is the stuff that modern horror thrillers are made of with blood hemorrhaging from the eyes as well as every orifice. It’s a brutal disease and painful death. Seema Yasmin, CDC epidemiologist stated in the press release: “The outbreak in West Africa showed us that an outbreak anywhere is a threat everywhere so you have to be ready at all times.”

According to Discovery: “The ferocity of these viruses is anything but an event of the past; according to recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-2018 flu season is one of the worst in years. Smallpox, eradicated in the wild, is a top bioterrorism threat. And the next Ebola outbreak always lurks just out of sight.”

Sleep well, wash your hands and tune in.

Invisible Killers: Influenza episode premieres on Thursday March 29 at 8pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel and Science Channel. Smallpox and Ebola continues on Science Channel at 9pm ET/PT and 10pm ET/PT, respectively.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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