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Hot Zone

1st hour February 14, 2014

1. The Monkey House

The Monkey House was a place where monkeys went as they were being imported into the United States. Here they were tested for many different diseases. This was an important facility because it kept vicious diseases from entering the country. Some of the monkeys that were brought here were infected with a disease that at the time was unknown. The staff didnt know how to handle this disease nor the severity of it. This was a large problem because the facility was next door to a daycare center and it is was also very close to the capital. It is a very aggressive disease. The Ebola disease is a fast acting, miserable disease. The workers had to decide wether to kill all the monkeys and get rid of the disease or hope that the healthy monkeys didn't get sick and let them live. In the end they decided it would be best to kill them and not take the chance. To kill them they pinned them down and then gave them three injections. The first was a general anesthetic called Ketamine which was put into the monkeys thigh. The second was a sedative called Rompun. The third was an euthanasia lethal drug called T-61. After killing the monkeys and getting rid of the threat of the disease spreading from them, they had to take care of the building. Because the building was so contagious and hazardous the only thing that they could do was to quarantine the building. The host of the disease was not found until a long while after this incident, but was probably from monkeys that came from Africa near the Kitum cave.

2. BioSafety Level 4
BioSafety level 4 is a section of the USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases). This section is held under negative pressure to keep the virus inside. This is where Marburg and Ebola were contained. There are several precautions necessary to enter biosafety level four. The first is the strict security system. When entering the building, one must show their security badge to a guard. Before changing clothing and washing up, the person must remove all jewelry, nail polish, ect. The person must undress, removing everything. Then they must put on sterile surgical scrubs as well as a cap. After this the person enters Level 2, which is bathed in ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light destroys genetic material in viruses, making them unable to replicate. Level 2 is also under negative air pressure, so that if a leak develops, air will flow into the zones rather than outward to the normal world. Level 2 also contains a water-shower stall and a bathroom. In the bathroom is a pair of clean white socks. Then the person moves on into Level 3, also known as the staging area. This room contains a desk with a telephone and sink. The person must put baby powder in a pair of latex rubber surgical gloves, and then put them on. Sticky tape is applied to cuffs of gloves, sleeves of scrub shirt, and socks to trousers. Then the person must put on a Chemturion biological space suit, also known as a blue suit. The person is now ready to enter biosafety level four where the viruses are held.

The viruses held here are known as Hot Viruses. These viruses have no known cure and are very dangerous. They are usually shaped like a rod. Reston Ebola and Zaire Ebola are held here.

3. Ebola Zaire v. Ebola Reston

Ebola Zaire and Ebola Reston are both disease that were mentioned in the book. Ebola Zaire was found in the country of Zaire and Ebola Reston was found in Reston, Virginia. Even though these diseases are both types of Ebola they each have many different qualities. Ebola Zaire is the worse of the two. The kill rate is 9 out of 10 in humans. The kill rate for Ebola Zaire is 100% more than Ebola Reston, but there is a good reason for it. Ebola Reston is not able to infect humans, it only infects apes. Humans can carry the disease but the body doesnt show any signs of it therefore the person can have the disease but there is no way for it to kill them. Apes, on the other hand, are not as lucky as we are. They are able to contract both diseases which are highly lethal and will most likely kill them. Another difference in the viruses is the way they are transmitted. Ebola Zaire is transmitted only by blood. It is passed only by physical contact with the black blood. However, Ebola Reston can be transmitted in many ways including simply through the air. Researchers think that the reason that Ebola Zaire is so much more lethal than Ebola Reston is the contrast in the way in which they are transferred. When passing Ebola Reston the Virus gets caught in the air through the saliva or blood particles and then gets inhaled.

4. Quote
This quote is referring to spreading of AIDS. It is saying that instead of the disease staying in one location, with the use of the highway, it is able to spread like wild fire. The Kinshasa Highway is also known as the AIDS highway. This is the main route by which HIV traveled during its breakout from the central African rain forest. The road links Kinshasa, in Zaire, with East Africa. The significance of the highway is the speed at which it allowed AIDS to spread across the land. Without the travel of people AIDS would have stayed in the rain forest not to be disturbed. Not only were HIV and AIDS able to travel on the highway, many other infections diseases did as well. AIDS was first diagnosed in Las Angeles, however, it was started in Kinshasa.

5. Quote
This quote is stating that because we are not taking care of the earth it is retaliating with an immune response against the humans. We as humans do not take care of the earth at all, we take it for granted. We litter, cut down trees, mine, and release toxic gases into the environment. We are causing global warming, which is causing sea levels to rise, trees are cut down because we think we need wood and the room, and we have polluted our oceans with oil spills that cause birds and fish to die and food to be inedible. No, we are not taking care of the earth, but is there another side to the story? We have made some very toxic chemicals and released some serious gases, but no one knows how this is going to effect the environment. What if it is the things that we are doing that are creating these diseases? No one knows what those chemicals and gases combine to make? Are we creating something that we are unaware of? Some people in countries wear masks as they walk around because the pollution is so bad their citizens cant breathe it in. We know we uncovered the Ebola Virus. Will we uncover more by our constant digging and prodding of the earth? Is this Mother Nature fighting back or our own doing? So, is the earth mounting an immune response against the human species? Probably not, It is more likely the result of what we are doing to earth.

6. Kitum Cave
Kitum cave is located on Mount Elgon near the Kinshasa highway. This is the cave that Charles Monet along with a 15 year old boy contracted the Marburg virus in. This cave is also connected to the Monkey house and the Ebola Zaire outbreak. This cave things in this cave caused many people to lose their life to disease in a very short time. But good has also come out of this cave. This cave has aloud research and learning. It has also forced us to create and adhere to protocols to contain viruses and diseases. Scientists travel here to research the beginning of the hot viruses. Its is believe that Charles Monet traveled here before he became incredibly ill and died. Because of this, there is a good chance that he contracted the virus from somewhere inside this cave. Scientists have traveled here to search for the start. It is also believed that Ebola started here. Some of the monkeys that were brought to the United States from this area had this virus on the way over. They classify this cave as a level 4 area because it is believed to have a hot virus inside. One must wear all protective gear when entering this area. A virus is hot when it is very lethal and has no fire.

7. Overall Impressions
The descriptions in this book were very vivid. When it was describing the scene of Monet in the hospital with black chunks of blood coming out of every hole in his body really grossed me out. Also, when the book talked about the doctor trying to open his air way and then blood started shooting out of his mouth and landed in the doctors mouth, that gave me goose bumps. One thing about this book that surprised me and made me quite uneasy was that while this virus that was killing 9 out of 10 people was in the country, the government tried to keep it quiet and not let the whole world know that there was a killing machine that had infested our country. I was also very surprised to find out that there was a virus that is so lethal that it has the capacity to kill 9 out of 10 people. Of all of the great things of earth, all of the happiness, there are such dark things around us. Hot Zone taught me that there is a virus that humans can get just by simply breathing but yet it doesnt affect them at all but when an ape is susceptible to it it can kill them. It amazes me the great wonders of the human body and how, when it is said that apes are our ancestors, we can have a disease that doesnt affects us but it does to them. I felt accomplished after reading this book. I learned a lot about rare viruses and am excited to learn more.