The Hot Zone

The Hot Zone is a factual story by Richard Preston about the outburst of the Ebola virus in a monkey house located in neighborhood of Reston, Virginia. In the first half of the book, the author tells about the previous outbreaks of Ebola-like viruses in the African continent and talks about the consequent disaster. He refers to the painful demise of a French expatriate, Charles Monet and several other effected by the disease. Major Nancy Jaax, a U. S. Army personal was called upon after the Reston outburst occurs.

She works in full body “space suits’’ (Preston 1999) with the most deadly viruses with in laboratories known as “Hot Zones” (Preston 1999). Nancy Jaax, a housewife and a mother, tries to keep a balance between her job and family life though the former always gets priority. Her husband and colleague, Jerry Jaax gets worried about her vulnerable exposure to such dangerous agents at Fort Detrick. The monkeys kept under observation for Ebola virus testing in the research facility at Reston starts falling ill after a certain time.

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By examining their tissue samples, Nancy and her colleagues concluded the illness being caused by the virus. Hundreds of monkeys in the monkey house are killed by the military and the Centers for Disease Control in order to prevent the virus entering the human residents in the area. Strict precautionary measures are taken throughout the procedure. Finally, the entire building is decontaminated and the employees go back to their normal lives. In order to discover the origin of these viruses, a U.
S scientific expedition visits a place in Kenya where some of the infected people were reportedly visiting the area. Unfortunately, the mission failed but the leading doctor of the expedition was able to put away the equipment used during the mission. The decontamination project at Reston was a success. The author ends the account by reporting his visit to the suspected site that housed the Ebola carriers. References Preston, Richard. (1999). The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story. Anchor

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