THE HOT ZONE by Richard Preston The book THE HOT ZONE by Richard Preston tells the story of outbreaks of viruses in Germany and Africa, and provides a detailed look at the 1989 Ebola Reston disaster just outside Washington, D.C. In October of l989, monkeys imported from the Philippines began dying at the Reston Primate Quarantine Unit in Reston, Virginia. Almost a third of them died within a month of there arrival. Unsure of why the monkeys died, the local veterinarian brought in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) to help with the diagnosis. Initially, the cause of the deaths was thought to be Ebola Zaire, a virus so deadly it kills nine out of ten victims.
Fortunately for man kind, the virus was a different strain that was later named Ebola Reston. One of the most frightening aspects of the Reston case is that scientists were unable to identify the difference between the two strains of virus; thus, wedon’t know why man kind got lucky. In discussing the 1967 Marburg virus deaths in Germany, and the 1976 deaths in Africa, Preston shows the history of the Ebola virus to the reader. The suffering, is described in full, gory detail, and is tied to a human face, a human victims such as Charles Monet and his Dr. Shem Musoke. Vivid details and descriptions of the virus’ symptoms and its victims leave one unsettled and alarmed.
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The mildest image is that the victims “become essentially a heap of mush and bones in a skin bag.” The author also provides detailed accounts of the heroes' lives. The heroes in this book are doctors, lab technicians, epidemiologists, virologists, and researchers.
Preston makes clear that all people involved are dedicated, experienced, and heroic. He outlines the enormity of the risks they take by working with such dangerous material everyday to protect all man kind.After reading this book I was determined to differentiate fact from fiction in regards to the Ebola virus.The information that I revealed makes me believe that Mr. Preston only selected graphic horrific symptoms and descriptions of only the worst patients.
Preston also implies that the strain of Ebola in the 1989 outbreak in Virginia was.