The Hot Zone

Topics: Ebola, Reston ebolavirus, Marburg virus Pages: 27 (9585 words) Published: February 8, 2011
The Hot Zone Summary | Part 1, Chapter 1 Something in the Forest Summary

Chapter one introduces the reader to Charles Monet. He is a French expatriate working on a sugar plantation in western Kenya. The story begins on New Year's Day, 1980, when Charles and a woman take an overnight trip to Mount Elgon, a formerly active volcano. During their trip, they visit Kitum Cave.

After returning to his quiet life, Monet becomes ill. The reader knows that he is experiencing a catastrophic illness, but Charles and those who treat him are unaware of how serious it truly is. He experiences headaches and backaches for several days before spiking a fever and vomiting violently for a long period of time. His eyes turn red, his face becomes expressionless, and his personality changes. Finally, a coworker drives him to a hospital in the city of Kisumu.

Doctors at the hospital cannot explain Monet's illness, and their antibiotics have no effect, so they put him on a crowded plane to Nairobi Hospital. During the flight, Monet becomes so ill that he vomits huge amounts of blood with black specks. The author explains that this is vomito negro and that it is saturated with whatever virus is making Monet sick. His blood has been clotting in his blood vessels and internal organs, and by now his body has depleted the clotting agent. He is bleeding from his nose, as well as internally. By the time he reaches the hospital, Monet "crashes" and falls to the floor in a river of virus-infected blood.

The Hot Zone Summary | Part 1, Chapter 1 Something in the Forest Analysis

The author develops the first chapter with extreme attention to detail. In the plot structure of The Hot Zone, Part 1 acts as the exposition. The landscape of the region is used to foreshadow the potential for fear and death that may follow throughout the book. In fact, humans' fear of death becomes a recurring theme throughout the book. The sugar fields have been burned for acres around, the dark clouds gather to create a rainstorm, and the cave is full of frightening images. Likewise, the graphic description of the progression of Monet's illness allows the reader to understand, step-by-step, the fate that awaits anyone else who becomes infected. It is quite clear from the narrative that Charles Monet is the first, but certainly not the last, human who will encounter a terrible virus during the course of this story. The origins of the outbreak are foreshadowed as Monet handles a dying bird, feeds a wild monkey, and encounters bat guano and crystals in the cave.

The Hot Zone Summary | Part 1, Chapter 2 Jumper Summary

In this short chapter, Charles Monet is placed on a gurney and wheeled into the intensive-care unit. Dr. Shem Musoke, a young, well-liked doctor is unsure of what is happening, but he recognizes that Monet cannot breathe. When Dr. Musoke attempts to insert a breathing tube, he realizes the patient has developed severe brain damage. During the insertion, the patient vomits blood upward and it gets into the doctor's eyes and mouth. Because Monet's blood will not clot, attempts to give him a transfusion only cause him to bleed more; and he dies that evening. The autopsy shows that his recently living body resembles a several-days' dead corpse on the inside.

Within a few days, Dr. Musoke begins showing signs of illness. He treats himself for malaria and typhoid fever, but neither treatment is helpful. His doctor, Antonia Bagshawe believes he may have gall stones and orders exploratory surgery. During the procedure they find no gallstones, but Musoke's blood refuses to clot. He is then placed in the care of Dr. David Silverstein, who suspects he has some sort of virus. Silverstein sends blood samples to the Institute of Virology in Sandringham, South Africa, and the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Hot Zone Summary | Part 1, Chapter 2 Jumper Analysis

Having already described the onset of the illness in Chapter 1, the author is able to use this brief...
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