IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

The Hot Zone

Giovanni Maga maga at vetbio.unizh.ch
Wed Jan 10 12:47:28 EST 1996

In article <Pine.SUN.3.91.960109223411.28801A-100000 at panix2.panix.com>,
hasse at PANIX.COM (Hasse) wrote:

> Ed,
> I disagree with you. To say that Marburg has only killed 10 people so far 
> and that there's nothing scary about Ebola Reston - Excuse me,I don't 
> mean to be rude, but that's nonsense.

Just jumping in...why it's nonsense? How many people did Marburg virus
kill? I know a quote almost identical to the one of Ed, but if you know
Ebola Reston is not harmful to humans...so what? It doesn't mean we all
are going to inject ourselves with a few million i.u. of Reston virus of
course, but why should it be more scary than for example FIV vs HIV? I am
not concerned about being infected by FIV, even if it's close to HIV and I
still rub my cat's head.

> The whole family of filoviruses is "scary" and deserves to be taken 100% 
> seriously. 
> Filoviruses are still a big questionmark. Nobody knows where (more exactly)
> Marburg & Ebola comes from, how it is transmitted to a  human patient zero,
> why the  Ebola Ivory Coast strain  seems to be less virulent and lethal than 
> Ebola Zaire & Sudan...  

Nobody says that Filoviridae aren't to be taken seriously. But there is no
reason to panic just because we know that they are around. BTW, we know
perfectly how mycobacterium tubercolosis works and still it kills a few
MILLIONS people in the world (especially in Africa). But...oh boy...that's
just tubercolosis...old stuff...new exciting emerging viruses are more
I agree that the Hot Zone was quite fabolous. And it did not scare me as
well...it scared me to see how people can be terrified by something they
probably won't get close to in all their life. Do not loose your senses
just because you read about an attack of haemorragic fever.

> A couple of years ago, a Swedish medical student had been 
> traveling in Africa, and lived for about four weeks in the town of 
> Kitale, at the base of Mt. Elgon, approximately twentyfive miles from 
> Kitum Cave. Yes, the Kitum Cave, that figures in "The Hot Zone".
> When he returned to Sweden he got really sick and was taken to a hospital. 
> The patient started to vomit blood,two members of the team accidently 
> stuck themselves on possibly infected needles and all together 55 medical 
> personnel had been exposed to the patients blood - before USAMRIID 
> experts in biohazard spacesuits flew in. Both the patient and the 
> hospital staff survived. 

I'm happy they survived. It means that it's not so easy that a single ill
person would cause an outbreak like some imaginative people figured out
about possible contamination of travellers by Ebola. BTW, what was the
diagnosis? Haemorragic fever (if it was the case...vomiting blood can be
due to other reasons as well) is not a prerogative of Filoviruses.
Before panicing...well, read any textbook of medical virology ...you
should be able then to discriminate between what is an exaggerated
journalistic-style report and what is reliable science.
Stay healthy.

More information about the Virology mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net