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The Ebola virus - the end of the civilized world

Steven Poet poets at ccmail.orst.edu
Fri Aug 18 11:17:26 EST 1995

RUS-92 at IDA.RUC.DK wrote:
> Indeed, Ebola is the mightiest threat mankind has faced yet.
Actually, the real estate developer is mankind's greatest threat.  Ask
any Oregonian;).

It is very easy to make up very scary "what if" stories about killer
infectious agents.  These agents, however, are still part of the
biosphere and interact with other players.  On a whole, microbes on
this planet make life possible.  What makes an agent harmful or a
killer is dependent on the agent's response to a select habitat or
niche.  That niche can be a jungle or a lymph node, but to say that
a virus can waste a bunch of lab animals says nothing about its
potential to wipe out the entire world (it even makes a lousy movie,
"Outbreak" was infected by the bad movie virus).

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