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Hot Zone Question

Deirdre deirdre at deeny.MV.COM
Sat Mar 18 15:49:12 EST 1995


Subject: Hot Zone Question
From: Joseph J.Seward, jseward at jseward.win.net
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 17:46:45 GMT
In article <205 at jseward.win.net> Joseph J.Seward, jseward at jseward.win.net
writes:
>        I am currently reading the Hot Zone and have a question
>about the ebola virus.  When the man in the first chapter has
>ebola but doesn't know and is vomiting on the airplane and in
>the emergency room and all of that, how come nobody else
>contracted the virus except for people like the doctor and
>nurses that came in contact with his blood?

Read more carefully. The guy in chapter 1 (Charles Monet) had Marburg, NOT
Ebola (see pp. 25, 150). Furthermore, the only strain of Ebola known to be
airborne (according to the book) is Ebola Reston, which is apparently
non-lethal in humans. Though it could mutate to become so.

> Since this virus is
>supposed to be and airbourne virus why didn't everyone in the
>whole area around him contract the disease?  If this disease is
>really a airbourne virus then why isn't everyone getting it
>around the whole world because if this disease is right now say
>in Africa loose, we breath the same air and with the wind and
>atmosphere wouldn't the virus be here in the states too?   Hope
>this isn't too dumb of a question but this is really bugging me
>and so is the first question about the book.  Thanks... Joe

It's not a dumb question. Viruses change and mutate. Each strain is
different, which is why we keep getting different "flus" over the years.
HIV in particular mutates very effectively.

The other interesting thing is that Ebola Zaire apparently burned itself
out so quickly despite being so lethal. And then it stopped.

What fascinates me is the thesis that this may be a disease naturally
hosted in big game (e.g. leopards or elephants) and that, because numbers
of the natural host are dwindling, it's jumping species to something more
available.

_Deirdre





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