The Hot Zone

Edmund Fung

1. The scientific method used in the level 4 lab is quite simple but yet very meticulous. Very broadly, you have to go through all the stages of the labs. For example, you have to go through level 0, level 2, level 3, and last level 4 (there is no level 1). In stages 2 to 4, the labs are kept under negative air pressure so that if there was a leak, the air would flow in and not out into the outside world. To work in level 2 or 3, you must have a number of vaccines, such as yellow fever, tularemia, anthrax, VEE and more because you do not want to catch any of those virus while working with them. To enter the level 4 lab, you have to go through all these steps. 1. Take off all clothes and get in to a surgical scrub suit. 2. Pass through ultraviolent light to kill virus and enter level 2, which is negatively air pressured. 3. Go through the shower for a couple minutes, and then put on socks. Advance to the level 3. 4. This will be the staging area. Here you put on the rest of your suit and tap up. Your suit is some what like a space suit. 5. Lastly, you would go into the airlock of level 4(gray area). Here is the only place where the hot zone and the normal world meet. Unplug your hose, enter the decontamination shower and you can finally enter the hot zone, level 4. In all the produces and methods used, the ways of keeping the hot virus from reaching the outside world was the most important of them all. One mental method is to keep the workers under no stress by not telling the public. This because when the outside citizens know, the pressure is on to the workers to “save” the public. All this pressure might produce mistakes. An example would be when a monkey escaped its cage therefore some workers started to freak out. The keep the workers free from the virus they wore “space suits”. For sterling of the spacesuits, they use bleach which kills the virus. Bleach is also called “bloody jik” in the Kenyan language. The other scientific way to keep Ebola from reaching the outside world and killing off the Ebola virus in a bigger environment is to set off lethal gas. For example in the monkey house, they first air tight the house from windows to doors. Next they put out paper saturated in a bacterium know as Bacillus subtilis Niger. They put these bacteria into the infected area, because the Niger is really hard to kill. If the gasses kill the Niger, it would certainly kill the Ebola. The gas came in little crystals which looked like salt. Electrical frying pans were spread out in the monkey house. The crystals were placed on the frying pansand when the frying pans were turned on, the crystals boiled away releasing formaldehyde gas. After three days the Niger was gone, therefore the Ebola was gone too. 2. Since America has better technology, we have the ability to keep Ebola Reston away from the public. With all the money, we had the power to stop the cycle of the natural earth just for the human beings in America. In Africa, they didn’t have as much technology or money to research or help the people with Ebola even thought the virus seems to have started in Africa. The Africans let the virus do what it does and let the cycle on earth continue without bothering it. The systems practice in the African tribes was to keep the infected on the edge of their tribe and to burn the hut they were in after they died. They also did backwards quarantine. This is when they kept out foreign

The Hot Zone

Edmund Fung

visitors when they had a disease going around. In Africa, they didn’t try to destroy the virus, but yet the people who had it die as they were like part of the natural earth cycle. But in America, we try to obliterate the virus and didn’t let the infect die by themselves. We try to save them. We, Americans, went and killed all the monkeys and destroyed the virus form the North America Continent. The USAMRIID wanted nothing to do with the virus and found it as a threat rather a beauty in the natural wild world. When Ebola was discovered in America, they had to keep it a secret or else the public would be extremely scared and the roads out of Reston would probably be jammed. But in Africa, a case of Ebola doesn’t seem to have to the same effect on the people. The people didn’t fret or seem as scare, and it appear to them as something normal. In Africa everything is in control to nature, but in the USA, we want all the control, including nature. 3. Obviously the medical and the scientific characters didn’t have a great relationship towards the beginning of the book and didn’t even have a relationship at the end. The doctors had no idea what hit the patient when Monet came in with Ebola, mistakenly thinking it was Marburg at first. For example, Dr. Musoke worked really hard on Monet to save him, even though he never knew that the virus he was working with was a highly lethal and was relate to Marburg. Later through the book, the scientific characters like Karl Johnson who discovered Ebola, finally informed the medical characters about the new arriving threat. Although the medical characters now has the information on this virus, they didn’t have contact with Ebola afterwards, because the scientific characters tried their best to quarantine the virus. Timing wise, the medical doctors had contact with the virus first, not knowing what it was. When the scientific characters got their hands on the case and figured out that it was a hot virus, they didn’t let anyone close to the virus, keeping it secret. Therefore, the medical characters did not have a chance to study the virus nor would they even want to be close to it at all. The only time the medical and scientific characters had a welcome interconnection was when the medical people took the case to the scientific characters. 4. The source of the disease, Ebola, has not been officially confirmed, but it seems to have come from Kitum Cave in Africa. The exact location is between Uganda and Kenya. This is where the first and second reported case arose from. Charles Monet was the first victim. The second was unknown. Both have been into the cave, but died outside of the cave. Since the cave is in the middle of a forest, there are a lot of animals which could have passed through or by the cave. Basically anything by Kitum Cave is a suspect. The virus could have come from the insects, animals, or any thing inside the cave. Ebola seems to be a highly adaptive virus. So far there are three kinds of Ebola, but because of its adaptive behavior, there could be more kinds of Ebola. Therefore the virus might not have a natural habitat since it could have morphed from something else. It can also be sitting on a crystal or a rock waiting to be touched since there were so many sharp rocks in the cave and Charles might have touched some of the crystals punctuating his skin. Marburg, related to Ebola, has been tested and it shows that it could survive at least five days inside a lab test tube not hit by any ultraviolent light damaging the DNA while in a level 4 lab. Not only that, it is just as lethal as if it has not sat in the test tube at all. Virus can also survive in dry conditions. The cave (Kitum Cave) doesn’t seem to be carved by water of any kind, it is very dry. No sun light can

The Hot Zone

Edmund Fung

penetrate deeply in to the cave. Water has been found in the very end of the cave but most of the cave was found dry. The source of the disease may never be found. 5. The outcome would be very different if the disease was not contained. The monkey house is by the suburbs and right by a children’s playground. Since the virus can spread easily and the morality rate is high, it could be a start to a new plague in the United States. Technically, it’s really easy. All the virus has to do is to get itself into a monkey house worker, or operant of cleaning out the monkey house. Then its host would be delivered to a nearby hospital. Here, the virus would “explode” in order to find new hosts. The hospital would be contaminated, and with the workers going in and out of the building, the virus could now spread through air. Nancy found out that the virus can spread via air, when she discovered two monkeys which got the disease after sitting in a room with a monkey who originally had the disease. Even a drop of blood is incredibly lethal. As a result Reston, Virginia could be wiped out. Not only that, Reston is only 6.8 miles to the Washington-Dulles International Airport. This would not only be a national alert, this could be an international alert. In the first place, it would be exceedingly difficult to contain the virus since it has a respiration function. There would exactly no place to hide. The earth might even look like what it was 3.2 billion years ago when only blue algae bacteria grew. Karl Johnson said that Ebola can most likely reduce the population of the human race by at least ninety percent but yet that evil and fear as you look into it, it starts to lessen showing its beauty of its life and the cycle it makes.