The book "The Hot Zone" written by Richard Preston is a true story which describes a highly infections, deadly virus from the central rain forest in Africa. The disease killed 90% of its victims and modern medicine was defenseless against it. The virus suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. .
In 1989, a monkey-importing company with a primate quarantine unit in Reston, Virginia noticed that the monkeys were dying off at an alarming rate and with unusual symptoms. When word got out that the virus was Ebola, all hell broke loose. .
The U.S. Army was put in charge of the mess. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists were sent in to stop the outbreak of the exotic "hot" virus. The job was complicated and very hazardous. Therefore, all involved wore special biological space suits. The job was to enter the monkey house or the hot zone, kill each monkey, and retrieve tissue samples. .
The operation had to be conducted in secret so as to prevent a nationwide panic. The job was a success. The virus, now known as Ebola Reston turned out to not affect the human race. However, this is hardly good news. Viruses mutate rapidly, and can easily be brought to the United States. .
The book begins with a very graphic description of the destruction of the human body by a filovirus. The body liquefies, spilling out billions of copies of the deadly virus, which can take on any number of lethal forms. Although there have only been minor outbreaks, the domino effect could create a worldwide catastrophe.
The Ebola virus is just one of the many exotic "hot" viruses that Preston is concerned about. He gives accounts of the appearance of other rare and lethal viruses that have affected the human race. Preston visited Kitum Cave in Kenya, the place where scientists believe is the source of all four identified filoviruses. Although these viruses are a continent away, they are also but a plane ride away.