You only live once: Epidemiologists analyze health risks in all the James Bond films

Enlarge / Epidemiologists analyzed all 25 James Bond films to assess 007’s health risks while traveling around the world. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

A graduate student in epidemiology working in the field leads a perilous life, as Wouter Graumans discovered when he came down with a serious case of food poisoning while visiting Burkina Faso to study infectious diseases. He may have also had a touch of delirium, as his experience prompted him to wonder how James Bond, Britain’s most famous secret agent, managed to travel all around the world without picking up so much as a case of the sniffles.

Graumans, who is working on his PhD at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, decided to undertake an epidemiological analysis of all 25 Bond films between 1962 and 2021. He found willing accomplices in Teun Bousema, an epidemiologist, and Will Stone, who studies malaria, both affiliated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in England.

The result is a highly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek short paper in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. The paper details 007’s exposure risk to infectious agents during his global travels, covering everything from foodborne pathogens to ticks and mites, hangovers and dehydration from all those martinis, parasites, and unsafe sex. (The authors’ emails requesting funding from EON Productions sadly went unanswered.)

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