Just like a Hollywood movie, Richard Preston's book The Hot Zone tells a story of an almost viral outbreak in suburban Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, unlike a movie made for entertainment, The Hot Zone recalls the events that led to Americas encounter with the Ebola virus.
Richard Preston takes you back to the origins of the virus to give you some history, and to show just how devastating the virus is. The viruses he tells about are called Marburg and Ebola. Marburg the first of the viruses first appeared in 1967, in a vaccine factory in Marburg, Germany. Marburg virus killed seven people, which was a quarter of those infected. Next came the Ebola outbreak of Sudan in 1976. Ebola Sudan spread rapidly from village to village, killing half of its victims. Then two months later, an even deadlier strain of Ebola hit Zaire, erupting simultaneously in some 50 villages, killing nine out of ten people it infected. His mastery of description is used throughout the book to explain the devastation a person goes through once infected with one of these deadly viruses. He tells specific stories that take make you feel like you are right there witnessing everything taking place. Like the case of a Frenchman, Charles Monet, which lived in Kenya along the Nzoia River. Monet was a loner that is believed to have contacted the virus during his visit to the Kitum Cave January 1980. His symptoms started out to be "flu-like" but later turned more severe. First his face turned yellow and had red starlike speckles on it. His eyes popped out of his head and turned blood red. Preston goes on to tell how Monet's organs were turning to mush while he walked around breeding the virus. .
The Hot Zone takes you into the laboratories to give you some insight on how scientist deal with these deadly viruses on a daily basis in hopes of finding cures. One such laboratory is at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRID), at Fort Detrick.