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In 28 Days Later..., the soldiers are discussing that Rage is so infectious and manifests so quickly after infection (within seconds) that it couldn't have spread outside of Britain. However, in the beginning of the movie, Selena recounts to Jim that the last news reports they heard before the TV stations stopped transmitting mentioned that there had been cases in Paris and New York.

Were those reports false/misinformation?

After all, the effects of the virus do make it highly unlikely that an infected person could get off the island. Or is there some non-human transmission model (e.g. birds)?

I know it's just a movie, but maybe there is some "in-universe" explanation for this.

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Ah, I just found the answer I was looking for in the Spoilers section of IMDb's trivia entry for this movie:

The film has engendered some confusion as to whether or not the virus is a worldwide phenomenon or whether it's confined to Britain. This is clarified on the DVD commentary however. When shooting began, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland intended to reveal that the virus had spread worldwide, which is why Selena mentions outbreaks in Paris and New York early in the movie. However, as filming progressed, they changed their minds and decided to render the spread of the virus more ambiguous. As such, they wrote the dialogue spoken by Sergeant Farrell (Stuart McQuarrie) when he is tied to the radiator as a counter-theory to Selena's claims, as he hypothesizes that Britain would have simply been quarantined at the first sign of trouble and that there was no way the virus could have reached America or mainland Europe. Obviously, the sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007) confirms that Farrell was entirely correct.

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