The book begins with a French Man, nicknamed Charles Monet, visiting the Kitum Cave*. A few days after, he begins to suffer from symptoms such as vomiting, red eye, and back pain. He is later taken to the Nairobi Hospital*. There, he goes into a coma and dies. Shem Musoke was infected by exposure to Charles' blood and vomit. Musoke developed symptoms from the filovirus* and survived. This particular filovirus was found to be the Marburg virus*.
Dr. Nancy Jaax had been promoted to the Level 4* Biosafety containment area at USAMRIID.* She is assigned to research Ebola virus*. When she was cooking at home, she cut her right hand. Later, at work, she didn't check her suit close enough. She was dissecting an EBOV-infected monkey, and one of the gloves on the hand with the open wound rips, and she is almost exposed to contaminated Ebola blood. The readers later find that Nancy was not infected.
Peter Cardinal, a ten-year-old, visits Kitum Cave. He gets infected with a Marburg relative, Ravn virus (RAVV), and does not survive this infection. Nurse Mayinga is infected as well and visits Nairobi Hospital for treatment, where she is infected by the disease. A CDC* team arrives to collect samples of the virus for study.
A company called Hazelton Research, in Reston, Virginia was a quarantine center for monkeys. In October 1989, many monkeys started dying. Samples were sent to Fort Detrick (USAMRIID) for study. At the time, people thought the virus was Simian hemorrhagic fever virus, a fever harmless to humans but almost always fatal to other primates. When they sent it to biosafety level 3, one of the samples appeared to be contaminated with the harmless hemorrhagic fever virus. Two USAMRIID scientists exposed themselves to the virus by sniffing the flask. When they tested the samples with known Level 4 agents, only EBOV reacted. After one of the monkey house staff members becomes ill with nausea and violent vomiting, USAMRIID is given permission to send in a team...
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