Cautionary Tales The Fan Who Infected a Movie Star

German measles is a minor illness for most people – but for unborn children it can be devastating. In 1943 – when the link was only just becoming clear – a young US marine decided to break rubella quarantine to meet the movie star Gene Tierney (played by Mircea Monroe). The marine was sick… and Gene was pregnant.

The appalling consequences of that meeting tell us much about how our thoughtlessness can harm those around us – but the kind of tragedy that befell Tierney and her daughter can be averted if we appeal to the better parts of human nature.

The Host

Tim Harford

Tim Harford’s long-running column in the Financial Times, “The Undercover Economist,” reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His first book, The Undercover Economist, was published in 30 languages and sold…