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The Hot Zone & The New Republic

Hasse hasse at PANIX.COM
Sat Jan 13 21:04:11 EST 1996

Wolfram Brune wrote about "The Plague Year" article:

> I don't know how many people have access to this article - I don't.

My suggestion: Send e-mail to David Ornstein of the "OUTBREAK" home 
page. Get his address at http://ichiban.objarts.com/outbreak-unreg/index.html

"Outbreak" has Ebola, Ebola and Ebola--but, also some other infectious 
disease stuff. They published F. Randall Bethke's letter "What's wrong 
with The Hot Zone" and may be willing to publish Malcolm Gladwell's article.
But, I guess somebody should contact the publisher (The New Republic) and
the writer,Malcolm Gladwell (chief of the New York bureau of The Washington 
Post) - and get their permission.

I also recommend the book "EMERGING VIRUSES" (Oxford University Press, 1993).
Edited by virologist Steve Morse and including chapters by D.A. Henderson, 
Karl M.Johnson, Richard M. Krause, Joshua Lederberg, Robert E. Shope, C. J. 
Peters and others from CDC, and from USAMRIID Hot-Zone-Team; Nancy Jaax, 
Peter B. Jahrling and E. D. Johnson - and many others. It's a very good 
source to keep in the back of your head when you're reading the article 
by Malcolm Gladwell.


About Ed Regis zero-European-or-American-patients-treated-in-Europe-or-the

Yes, the health care systems in many African countries are in  really bad 
shape. The hospitals and the medical practice in Zaire has actually 
functioned as a major source for Ebola transmission. 

But, that doesn't mean that hospitals in the western world have had a 
specific treatment or a vaccine for Ebola on the shelf - while people have 
been dying in Africa. Neither does it mean that a much higher hygienic 
standard at our hospitals will generally cure possible Ebola victims in the
US or Europe.

I really don't know what's the point with the "zero". Does it mean that 
the US health system would have had a simple task to cure Ebola patients, 
if Reston '89 had been Ebola Zaire? Or does it mean that a few cases of 
AIDS in the early 80's, would only be an indication of a small problem?

Ebola and Marburg are, as far as I can see, showing the early obvious 
signs of viruses that are trying to jump species. I'm not a defeatist, 
I'm not in panic about Ebola or any other virus. But, like the WHO, CDC, 
USAMRIID and most leading virologists - I take newly emerging viruses, 
like Ebola, very seriously, and I refuse to participate in any kind of 
downplaying of actual risks.

I don't believe that CDC are hunting for ghosts when they are taking 
preventive actions here in the U.S. - when there's a report of an  
outbreak of Ebola in Africa.

Ed Regis wrote:

> Sorry Hans. Ed Regis argued there's nothing scary about The Hot Zone, 
> which is a book, not that there's nothing scary about the viruses. 

Let's see. Have I entered a discussion group for literature?  I thought 
that everybody in this Virology Discussion group was discussing 
aspects virology.
> I have since changed my mind about the book: it was scary in the 
> reading, but not scary at the end, when you realized that the risks to 
> humans were rather slim. 

I agree with you and I respect you for admitting that you have changed 
you mind. 

> Ebola Reston is not fatal to humans, period.

That's not the way CDC speaks about Ebola Reston. Where you're writing 
"period", they are saying "so far". Get the difference? There's a large 
uncertainity about Ebola and its different strains. It's not like if 
there was sharp lines between the Ebola Reston versus Zaire, Sudan and 
Ivory Coast.                                                                                                


A perspective:

"The potential of aerogenic infection by Ebola virus was established 
by using a head-only exposure aerosol system. Virus-containing droplets
...were generated and administrated into the respiratory tract of rhesus 
monkeys via inhalation. Inhalation of viral doses as low as 400 
plaque-forming units of virus caused a rapidly fatal disease in 4-5 days."

Excerpt from "Summary" of "Lethal experimental infection of rhesus 
monkeys by aerosolized Ebola virus", by E. Johnson, N. Jaax, J. White and 
P. Jahrling, USAMRIID. (From International Journal of Experimental Pathology,
# 76, 1995, 227-236)  The virus used in the experiment was Ebola Zaire.

CDC and USAMRIID need more funding - not less - for research of this type.

--Hans Andersson, NYC
  hasse at panix.com


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