No Time for Public Health
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public health

Norbert and I grew up on James Bond films, the first released in 1962. We've watched him thwart agents of evil and risk his health with sexual exploits, unsafe eating habits, and exposure to disease infested vermin. Yet, he lives on dashingly. So, to see just how realistically he would have fared, three malarial scientists did an accounting of his films, over 3,000 minutes.

For one, he had 59 sexual encounters with little evidence he used safe sex. He travels to developing countries and yet is only seen washing his hands twice. Not good for preventing food borne illnesses. For example, after distracting alligators with raw chicken, he fails to wash up. He also eats unwashed fruits and yet never gets Traveler's Diarrhea or hepatitis. He doesn't protect himself from insect borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and chikungunya that are endemic in the Bahamas, Jamaica and India. Instead of using insect repellant like DEET, he falls for misinformation that saltwater keeps them away.

On five occasions, such as in the films Moonraker and Dr. No, he blows up potential mosquito breeding grounds. Probably overkill?

These risqu behaviors don't include Bond's exposures to swarms of rats, leeches, sand flies, potentially rabid dogs and of course, poisonous snakes. So, in addition to bullets, bombs, missiles, knives, hit men with stainless steel teeth and razor-sharp hat brims, Bond manages to survive these health threats to "Die Another Day".

For more information…

James Bond has all those gadgets but no hand sanitizer. Avoid these 007 travel habits
Though his latest exploits involve outwitting a villain armed with a deadly virus in No Time To Die, James Bond is hardly known for promoting public health practices...

No time to die: An in-depth analysis of James Bond's exposure to infectious agents
Global travelers, whether tourists or secret agents, are exposed to a smrgsbord of infectious agents. We hypothesized that agents pre-occupied with espionage and counterterrorism may, at their peril, fail to correctly prioritize travel medicine. To examine our hypothesis, we examined adherence to international travel advice during the 86 international journeys that James Bond was observed to undertake in feature films spanning 1962-2021...