Yes - "The Hot Zone" is an excellent read. It put the fear of viruses in me like never before (and I always had a healthy respect). It's a real story, too. It's been in publication long enough that you could probably find one in a paperback exchange, or even in the library. My copy is one of only a handful of books on my "keeper" list. I should go back and remind myself why I put it there.
...the problem with people these days is they've forgotten we're really just animals ... (attributation forgotten)
We did not create the web of life; we are but a strand in it. ~attributed to Chief Seattle
We don't have souls. We ARE souls. We have bodies. ~C.S. Lewis
current weight: 231.0
Fitness Minutes: (216,195)
3/30/14 2:18 P
People believe they are safe because they live in America. Not so. This book will tell you how ebola was discovered in Washington DC. Because we are a global community with people routinely flying from country to country, we are no longer immune to contact with highly infectious diseases.
Ebola is a virus first discovered in the late 70s (?) - it's a hemorrhagic virus, no cure. It was first identified in a colony of rhesus macacques which was isolated on an island in the Ebola river - local peoples bring these animals down that river to sell to research facility purchasers, but if any are found not to be in excellent health, the buyers won't take any of them. So the collectors abandon them to get healthier on this island where they can go back and recollect them. There was/is a cave somewhere thereabouts which has bats, and it's now thought that fruit bats may be the (or a) carrier. It's not uncommon for the local peoples to eat bats, or make soups from them. This may be a transmission mode, or it may be just wading in those caves trying to catch them. I haven't heard any definitive data on that.
The disease can come on very quickly, or take a few weeks. In any event, it causes spontaneous "dissolution" of many tissues - people who have it will bleed profusely from every orifice. I've only heard of a rare case surviving it.
The book "Hot Zone" and the movie "Outbreak" are both based on the Ebola virus. There are 5 variants - I can't remember each one, but Zaire is one (the original, I think), and Sudan (the one active now), and another named "Reston" for a research facility in Virginia. That facility was destroyed when there was a suspicion that the Ebola in their macacque colony had gone airborne. Turns out, Reston is only virulent to primates, not humans. But they didn't know that then, and destroyed the whole place on suspicion. Marburg virus is in a related family, but isn't so deadly as Ebola.
The thing that's so terrifying about it is that we're such a mobile worldwide community... there was some estimate back in the original outbreak that it might take only a couple of weeks for the thing to spread worldwide, if it were ever to attach itself to someone travelling by aircraft. The survival rate is incredibly slim. And the virulence is incredibly high.
Guinea and that whole west African locale is so poor... so few resources. I fear for them. My heart goes out to them, victims and healthcare supporters all.
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