An examination of the hot zone by richard preston

Synopsis[ edit ] The book is in four sections: This part also introduces a young promising physician who became infected with Marburg virus while treating Monet. Viruses, biosafety levels and procedures were described. The Ebola virus disease outbreaks caused by Ebola virus and its cousin, Sudan virusare mentioned.

An examination of the hot zone by richard preston

Conspicuously absent from both popular and official rhetoric has been attention to larger structural determinants of the course of Ebola epidemics.

Yet global forces condition the emergence of Ebola far more than culture does. Certainly, structural force alone cannot account for the destruction Ebola has wreaked on the lives of victims and their families. But the focus on culture comes at the expense of attention to sociopolitical and economic structures, obscuring the reality that global forces affect epidemics in Africa.

The virus is spread through contact with infected fluids, typically blood, and once it has infected a new patient, it rapidly attacks the internal organs and connective tissue, causes severe bleeding, vomiting, aches, mental impairment and dementia, and in severe cases, grand mal seizures.

During these outbreaks, most of the world took only passing notice of this new disease. Scientists who had dealt with the disease and the Zairois and Sudanese touched by it would not soon forget the epidemic, but media focus was limited and Western concern was low.

Here was an exotic and deadly disease with no cure, let loose for the first time on American soil. Ultimately, the particular subtype that had proven fatal to the monkeys was discovered to be harmless in humans CDC,but fear of the virus had been sparked by the event and only grew with time.

Within a few short years, Richard Preston published The Hot Zone, a best-selling book about Ebola and the Reston event, and Outbreak, a film starring Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman, portrayed the potential scenario that an infected monkey shipped from Africa could cause a major epidemic within the U.

Despite media attention, the fear surrounding Ebola is in many ways overstated. The virus is indeed incredibly lethal—if you are infected. But in the course of over 30 years since its initial appearance, only 1, people have died in total CDC, For comparison, twice as many children die of malaria each day WHO, Yet Ebola looms far larger in the Western imagination.

Because the virus represents a threat to Western populations.

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It could travel from there and infect us here. It could mutate and spark a pandemic. It could be stolen by terrorist groups or weaponized by hostile forces. It has the potential to infect us in a way that malaria, conquered as an epidemic disease in the West and easily treated in resource-endowed hospitals, does not.

As anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has argued, such categorizations are often limiting because they imply a change in the biological organism or pathogenicity, when, in fact, diseases emerge and re-emerge because of social forces Farmer, Moreover, the terms mask where and for whom the diseases have emerged.

But those who it continued to infect and kill in shocking numbers were people from the poorest countries. Consider that for OECD countries, tuberculosis has disappeared. Ebola is an example of such a disease, one that emerged into Western consciousness more than it did into the biological landscape.

Media coverage of the epidemic in was virtually non-existent; a search through the New York Times archives indicates that only one article was written about the disease prior to But after the macaque monkey incident, media interest exploded.

As Paul Farmer writes: Thus, symbolically and proverbially, Ebola spread like wildfire—as a danger potentially without limit.

An examination of the hot zone by richard preston

Toward a Culturalist Epidemiology Ebola did not merely emerge; it emerged from Africa. Since its discovery, the mystery and intrigue surrounding Ebola has been linked to its foreign origins. This connection between African culture and Ebola is more than mere rhetorical racialization of the disease.

Africans are presumed to believe in spirits and witchcraft as the cause of Ebola, and reject biomedicine and the interventions it necessitates. Rural Africans sometimes eat these animals; this fact is reconfigured into near-certain proof of a causal mechanism.

Academic studies deploy a techno-scientific discourse to mask this simple cultural logic in advancing the hypothesis. Such arguments convey that Africans are both ignorant and stubborn in their misconceptions while supporting the notion that Ebola outbreaks are caused by a cultural tradition of bushmeat consumption.

As I will show later, similar theories of causation link burial practices to outbreaks. More generally, African culture is seen as an obstacle to overcome when implementing outbreak control.

These things gripped the estimatedpeople of Kikwit with a terror unlike any they had ever felt… The victims died fast, screamed incoherent phrases of apparent devilish origin.The Hot zoneI think people should know about the history of ebola.

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