The Hot Zone (Essay Sample)

The Hot Zone

This is a nonfiction thriller book written by Preston Richard in the year 1994. ‘Crisis in the hot zone’ featured in the New Yorker two years later. Both the article and the book, major their focus on the emergence and history of the biosafety level 4 pathogens for instance Ebola virus and Marburg virus. A bio 4 level is highly hazardous to the humans because they have a high case-fatality rate and are very contagious. Since then there are no treatment or exact cure of the virus. The book generally is based on a real true story on the outbreak of the virus of Ebola among the primates in the Washington D.C. the fear was that it could spread to the nearby people or even affect the surrounding. The book has been summarized into four sections namely, the shadow of Mount Elgon, Smashdown, the monkey house and kitum cave. the author has provide the background of the disease by giving various instances and specifically citing them in Africa in the late 1970s and 1980s.the events are factual and far more horrifying since Preston does not state the dangers of Ebola but he argues that the real danger lies on the rise of other virus for instance HIV AIDS whose effect on the individual or the persons cannot be measured. This essay seeks to describe the book based on the true story about the evolution of virus.

The first section of book contains the story of a man Richard has given the pseudonym Monet Charles; he begins exhibiting symptoms of Marburg Disease (MARV) after visiting Kitum Cave few days on Mount Elgon. The effects of the disease are described in brilliant detail from the early stages in which Monet begins to complain of, backache, vomiting and red eye. From there the disease takes a threatening form in which is described by Richard as liquefying connective tissue, leading to hemorrhaging from (every orifice) and the general change of internal tissues as well as organs. Two weeks later Charles is brought in Nairobi to a hospital where he passes away. This is after he slips into a coma and bled out .Dr. Shem Musoke also becomes infected with the same virus while trying to give medication to Charles. However, he survives but samples of his blood are used later to test the disease.

The second and third segment of the book shows the involvement in the extermination of more than hundreds of monkeys in Virginia, in the late 1989. Located less than 15 kilometers  away from Washington D.C, a monkey house in Virginia received a load of about 100  monkeys which are wild; within the four weeks since being brought in  29 of the monkeys had perished, Dan Dalgard, the veterinarian for the house, examined the dead monkeys and sends samples to a virologist, Jahrling at USAMRIID. Fortunately, it is discovered that the monkeys are contaminated with the virus of Ebola Zaire and the resolution is made in order to put all the monkeys in the same room together with the infected monkeys. This does not go smoothly since there are several incidences of near contamination. Once when a monkey not properly sedated, the monkey wakes and struggles with the scientists present in the room. Due to few incidences of accidental exposure, notably when two or more people breathe in the pathogen before identifying it, it becomes a strain of Ebola that does not present symptoms in humans and is only deadly to monkeys. It is hence called Reston disease. In the late 1980s scientist went to kitum cave to research about the original animal that had this virus but Preston himself describes the incidences differently. Preston suggests that it is not about looking for the host but to look for the presence of other diseases caused by the virus or even find about Hiv Aids and other viral diseases.

In conclusion the book describes how virus spread and originated especially Ebola from the perspective view. Preston based this book from a true story that led to the scientist dying and other affected while carrying out the research. He begins and concludes that there are other viruses that originated from the primates.

related articles