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Ebola Zaire

Robert Kersting 74252.1112 at CompuServe.COM
Wed Jul 19 00:33:03 EST 1995

Dear Chris,
  It seems to me that the Ebola virus (as most other viruses) 
does not survive without its host. The fact that it actually is 
so "virulent" is a tool to assure its survival. Currently nobody 
knows what the natural source, or hiding place, of the virus is. 
It is assumed that monkeys (I'm not sure about the specific 
species) are the carrier, but nothing has been proven yet. But it 
could as well be an insect or any other animal. 
  The fact that we humans destroy more and more of our 
environment gets us in contact with animals that were previously 
living peacefully in their natural habitat. Through the contact 
with humans, Ebola (and in the long run other viruses) are able 
to jump species. Since you have read "Hot Zone", you probably 
know that the Ebola virus consists of only 7 proteins. A probably 
minor mutation in one or more of these proteins was the cause 
that the virus could not jump over to humans in the 1989 Reston 
incident. Otherwise it might have resulted in a worldwide 
   If you are interested in Ebola and other re-emerging diseases, 
you might want to consider reading Laurie Garret's "The Coming 
Plague". It is a very fascinating book that covers many aspects 
of this interesting topic of viruses.

E-mail: kersting.pathlogy at mail.health.ufl.edu

Robert Kersting
University of Florida
E-mail: kersting.pathlogy at mail.health.ufl.edu

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