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Ebola Zaire

Steven Poet poets at ccmail.orst.edu
Thu Jul 20 16:13:18 EST 1995

Bob Morrell <bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu> wrote:
> On 20 Jul 1995, Don Haut wrote:
> > > I too am mystified by the concept of predatory viruses suggested in the
> > > Hot Zone.  This kind of sensationalized "information" tends to lead to 
> > > panic and uninformed political decisions.
> I take issue with this, in that "predatory" is a human concept, used for 
> communication of a complex activity. In that it communicates the danger 
> and seriousness of the virus, it is appropriate.
> Lack of public awareness to this virus would also lead to uninformed 
> political decisions. See my other post on the utility of panic.

Panic is also a human concept, used to communicate unproductive,
emotional reactions to a stimulus.  I am not against healthy (excuse
the pun) respect for a nasty infectious disease, but using our heads
to control epidemics is much better than using our emotions.  Viruses
are parasites, not predators, in many cases (not all), a parasite
that kills its host quickly is a lousy parasite.

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