Book Report: the Hot Zone by Richard Preston

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  • Topic: Ebola, Viral hemorrhagic fever, The Hot Zone
  • Pages : 2 (685 words )
  • Download(s) : 470
  • Published : October 8, 1999
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Book Report: The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

In October of l989, Macaque monkeys, housed at the Reston Primate Quarantine Unit in Reston, Virginia, began dying from a mysterious disease at an alarming rate. The monkeys, imported from the Philippines, were to be sold as laboratory animals. Twenty-nine of a shipment of one hundred died within a month. Dan Dalgard, the veterinarian who cared for the monkeys, feared they were dying from Simian Hemorrhagic Fever, a disease lethal to monkeys but harmless to humans. Dr. Dalgard decided to enlist the aid of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) to help diagnose the case. On November 28th, Dr. Peter Jahlring of the Institute was in his lab testing a virus culture from the monkeys. Much to his horror, the blood tested positive for the deadly Ebola Zaire virus. Ebola Zaire is the most lethal of all strains of Ebola. It is so lethal that nine out of ten of its victims die. Later, the geniuses at USAMRIID found out that it wasn't Zaire, ! but a new strain of Ebola, which they named Ebola Reston. This was added to the list of strains: Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and now, Reston. These are all level-four hot viruses. That means there are no vaccines and there are no cures for these killers.

In 1976 Ebola climbed out of its primordial hiding place in the jungles of Africa, and in two outbreaks in Zaire and Sudan wiped out six hundred people. But the virus had never been seen outside of Africa and the consequences of having the virus in a busy suburb of Washington DC is too terrifying to contemplate. Theoretically, an airborne strain of Ebola could emerge and circle the world in about six weeks. Ebola virus victims usually "crash and bleed," a military term which literally means the virus attacks every organ of the body and transforms every part of the body into a digested slime of virus particles. A big point that Preston wanted to get across was the fact that the public thinks...
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