Book Report, The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

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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...