Literary Analysis of The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
The Hot Zone
The setting g takes place in two major places. Reston Maryland which is a suburb of Washington DC. and the second major area is in Kenya Africa. The story takes place in the 1980’s.
Since this story is a true story there is no one character that is a main character. The author does not create the story around any one main character so I’ll just list every character I can remember from the book.
- Charles Monet: He was the first host to the deadly ebola virus breakout in Africa. He was 56 years old and was kind of a loner according to the authors interviews with people.
- Dr. Mosoke: He was Charles Monets doctor when Charles crashed and bled out which means when the host suddenly starts bleeding infectious blood out of every orifice in the body.
- Nancy Jaax: She was a veterinary pathologist at a military fort in Maryland..
- Jerry Jaax: He was a veterinarian and husband to Nancy Jaax.
- Peter Jahrling: He was a disease expert at Fort Detrick
- Gene Johnson: He was in charge of the Reston operation. He also was the discoverer of Ebola Sudan.
- Nun: The Nun’s name was unknown but she had the very first recorded case of Ebola Zaire which is the most dangerous of the three strains.
This is a true story. On New Year’s Day 1980 a man named Charles Monet went on a trip with a girl friend of his up to Mnt. Elgon in West Kenya. They spent the night there and went to a large cave there called Kitcum cave. After his trip to Kitcum cave he went home and three days later had a huge headache that wouldn’t go away. That is the first symptom of this deadly disease. A few days later he went to the doctors and they told him he should go to a bigger hospital in Nairobi. Charles caught a flight to Nairobi an the ninth day after his visit to kitcum cave. All through the flight to Nairobi he was throwing up blood mixed with a black liquid. When he got to the hospital he sat down and waited to be served. Then his spine went limp and nerveless and he lost all sense of balance. he started going into shock. He then started throwing up an incredible amount of blood from his stomach and spilt it on to the floor. The people who were there said the only sound was the choking in his throat from his constant vomiting while he is unconscious. Then came the sound of bed sheets being torn in half which is the sound of his bowels opening up and venting blood from the anus. The blood is mixed with intestinal lining. His gut is sloughed. The linings of his intestines come off and were being expelled from his body along with huge amounts of blood. This dying process which happens to nine out of ten people who come in contact with the deadly disease is called crashing and bleeding. Samples of his blood were flown to all the major disease labs in the world. The disease was a Marburg Strain.
In Sudan the same types of deaths were wiping out whole tribes. So Gene Johnson flew over there and worked with sick members of the tribes to try and find a cure. This strain of Marburg was called Ebola Sudan for were it was found. Later in Zaire there was an out post of missionaries who would give vaccine shots and penicillin to local tribes. One of the nuns there became sick with a similar disease. She died and her blood was sent to disease labs all over the world. The strain was called Ebola Zaire since it was discovered in Zaire.
In Reston Maryland there was a monkey house that would ship monkeys all over the US. to labs for medical experiments. Suddenly all the monkeys started dying in one room. Tom Jahrling from fort Detrick came down and took a look at the monkeys and took some samples. He took back and he and Tom Geisbert looked at it and thought it was just a small monkey virus and try smelled it which is a way to tell what something was. They couldn’t tell what it was so they looked at it under a electron microscope and it looked allot like Marburg. They were scared because they had smelled the container of the marburg. They didn’t tell anyone that they had been exposed.
The Military and the C.D.C. (Center for Disease Control) sealed off the whole building and Nancy Jaax and Jerry Jaax led squads of people inside the building wearing space suits. Two people while working inside the building were cut and their space suits were torn which means they were exposed to the virus. They found out that the virus they were working with was a close relative to Ebola Zaire. They killed all the monkeys in the building and locks their corpses up because they were predicting that if the virus got out it would total the human population. It would be like another Black Plague, but the Black Plague only killed 50% of those infected while this killed 90%. They put a special chemical in the building and let it sit four three days. After the tree days nothing was alive in the entire building not even a tiny microscopic virus could live. But four people had been exposed to the virus and surprisingly they all lived they later realized that the virus must have mutated so it would not harm humans but if it mutated again and could effect humans it would be devastating. This new virus was called Ebola Reston.
I thought the book was really scary. It was scary to see that there are diseases that could completely wipe us out and that we got really lucky at Reston. I thought the book was also very educating. From a scale of one to ten I give it a ten because the author uses great detail. for instance when the author tells the effects of the disease.
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