> From: hasse at PANIX.COM (Hans Andersson)
> If it was just a lethal virus hiding forever in the deep forest where
> nobody lived - Yes, then you might be right. But, Richard Preston is, in my
> opinion, correct in his observation that Ebola is a virus trying to break
> out - out
> of the jungle, out of the monkey species, and out of Africa...
Let's not get too anthropomorphic here: Ebola viruses are viruses
which HAPPEN to infect humans - and other primates - who are
incidental to their NATURAL transmission cycle (whatever that is).
They are NOT trying to 'break out" of anywhere, any more than
influenza viruses deliberately and maliciously mutate their
haemagglutinins in order to infect people who have been infected with
flu previously. What happens is that primates and humans intrude on
a natural cycle of transmission between as yet undiscovered natural
hosts of the virus, and get seriously sick. But, as I have pointed
out elsewhere, if in a city of over 400 000 people, only 400 or so
were affected, in the worst pssible scenario short of inoculating the
virus into Bombay or Calcutta beggars....where is the problem?
Ed Rybicki, PhD
Dept Microbiology | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za
University of Cape Town | phone: x27-21-650-3265
Private Bag, Rondebosch | fax: x27-21-650 4023
7700, South Africa |
WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html
"And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you"