A French expatriate and amateur naturalist who works at the Nzoia Sugar Factory in western Kenya. Seven days after a trip to Kitum Cave in the Elgon forest in 1980, Monet begins to exhibit signs of the Marburg virus. He dies two weeks later at Nairobi Hospital.
Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Jaax
A veterinarian and scientist in the United States Army, Jaax works on Gene Johnson's Ebola experiment in 1983 and suffers a near exposure to the Ebola virus through a rip in her space suit glove. In 1989, Jaax is appointed chief of pathology for USAMRIID and works extensively on the outbreak operation in Reston, Virginia. Married to Jerry Jaax. Mother of Jaime and Jason.
Colonel Gerald "Jerry" Jaax
A veterinarian and scientist in the United States Army. Jaax is appointed chief of the veterinary division at USAMRIID and serves as the mission leader of the SWAT team during the Reston operation. Married to Nancy Jaax.
Eugene "Gene" Johnson
A civilian biohazard expert who runs the Ebola research program at USAMRIID in 1983. In 1987, Johnson identifies the Marburg virus in a blood serum sample taken from Peter Cardinal. He also proves that Marburg and Ebola have the ability to travel through the air. In 1988, he organizes an expedition to Kitum Cave with Dr. Peter Tukei but is unable to identify the origin of the virus. In 1989, Johnson works with Jerry Jaax on the Reston operation.
A ten-year-old Danish boy who dies from the Marburg virus after visiting Kitum Cave in 1987. Like Charles Monet, Cardinal is treated by Dr. David Silverstein at Nairobi Hospital.
A consulting veterinarian at the Reston Primate Quarantine Unit. Dalgard examines the monkeys at Reston when the outbreak begins and eventually contacts USAMRIID for assistance. Throughout the outbreak, Dalgard keeps a detailed "chronology of events."
A civilian virologist at USAMRIID at Fort Detrick with extensive experience in hot viruses. Jahring is contacted by Dan Dalgard in order to identify the mysterious virus killing the Reston monkeys.
An intern at USAMRIID who operates the facility's electron microscope. Geisbert volunteers to examine infected monkey cells from the Reston facility and is the first to identify the signs of a filovirus. Along with Peter Jahrling, Geisbert sniffs a flask containing infected cells but is not infected with the virus.
Colonel C.J. Peters
Chief of the disease-assessment division at USAMRIID. During the outbreak at the Reston facility, Peters is the official leader of the biocontainment operation. In addition, Peters is responsible for "news containment" in order to avoid a public panic.
Dr. Joseph McCormick
Chief of the Special Pathogens Branch of the C.D.C. While treating Ebola patients in Sudan, McCormick accidentally sticks himself with a bloody needle but is not infected with Ebola.
Dr. Shem Musoke
A young, energetic physician who examines Charles Monet after his collapse in the waiting room of Nairobi Hospital. Nine days after examining Monet, Musoke begins to exhibit signs of the Marburg virus. Unlike Monet, Musoke survives. Samples of his blood are later used by USAMRIID and other facilities to test for the Marburg virus.
Dr. Antonia Bagshawe
A physician at Nairobi Hospital who examines Dr. Musoke during the early stages of his illness and recommends exploratory surgery.
Dr. David Silverstein
A physician at Nairobi Hospital who suspects that Dr. Musoke has been infected by a rare virus and sends samples of Musoke's blood serum to the CDC in 1980. After learning of the mysterious virus' similarities to the Marburg virus, Dr. Silverstein persuades Kenyan authorities to shut down Nairobi Hospital and quarantine the staff members who had interacted with Dr. Musoke and Charles Monet. Seven years later, Dr. Silverstein treats Peter Cardinal at Nairobi Hospital.
An employee at the Behring Works vaccine factory in Germany who dies from the Marburg virus in 1967.
An English veterinarian whose job was to inspect the monkeys before they were exported to the Behring Works vaccine factory in Marburg, Germany.
A store keeper in southern Sudan who is the first to die from Ebola Sudan in 1976.
A work colleague of Yu G. who is also infected with Ebola Sudan in 1976.
Dr. Peter Tukei
A doctor at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Tukei works closely with Gene Johnson in retracing Peter Cardinal's steps before breaking with Marburg virus. Tukei is an important member of Johnson's expedition to Kitum Cave in 1988.
Lieutenant Colonel Anothony "Tony" Johnson
Nancy Jaax's immediate superior during her work on Gene Johnson's Ebola experiment in 1983. Johnson is present in the hot zone when Jaax discovered a hole in her glove. Later, he is appointed head of pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A Belgian nun who becomes infected with Ebola Zaire at the Yambuku Mission Hospital in 1976. She is moved to Ngaliema Hospital in Kinshasa, where she is treated by Nurse Mayinga before dying.
A Belgian nun who cares for Sister M.E. when she becomes ill with Ebola Zaire. Shortly after escorting her to the Ngaliema Hospital in Kinshasa, Sister E.R. develops symptoms of Ebola.
A young nurse at Ngaliema Hospital who treats Sister M.E. Soon after the nun's death, Mayinga begins to develop symptoms of Ebola Zaire. In denial about her illness, Mayinga spends two days running errands in the city before eventually returning to Ngaliema Hospital. Before she dies, she is treated by Dr. Margaretha Isaacson.
A South-African doctor who treats Nurse Mayinga at the Ngaliema Hospital in Kinshasa. At first, Isaacson wears a gas mask, but she eventually discards it and treats Mayinga face-to-face. Despite close contact with her patient, Isaacson does not become infected with the virus.
A doctor at the Special Pathogens Branch of the C.D.C, Johnson helps to identify the Ebola virus from blood samples in 1976. A few days after isolating the Ebola strain, Johnson travels to Africa with two other C.D.C. doctors in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in Zaire and Sudan. As part of this effort, Johnson organizes a floating hospital ship on the Congo River.
A virologist at the C.D.C. and former wife of Karl Johnson, Webb helps to identify the Ebola virus in 1976.
A doctor at the C.D.C., Breman travels to Zaire with Karl Johnson in an effort to stop the outbreak of the Ebola virus. During his time in Zaire, he joins a field exploration team that travels to Bumba, a region badly hit by the virus.
The colony manager at the Reston monkey house. One month after the shipment of monkeys arrives from the Philippines, Volt contacts Dan Dalgard with concerns about the number of animals who are dying.
An animal caretaker at the Reston facility and a devout Christian. In the middle of the outbreak at the monkey house, Frantig is discovered vomiting outside of the building. While Dalgard and others fear that Frantig has been infected with Ebola, he is actually only suffering from the flu.
Major General Philip Russell
Commander of the United States Army Medical Research and Development Command, which has authority over USAMRIID. Russell gives the command to dispatch SWAT teams to Reston to contain the outbreak in 1989.
Frederick A. Murphy
A virologist at the C.D.C. who helps to identify the Ebola virus. Acclaimed for his work with the electron microscope, Murphy is also the first to photograph the virus.
Jerry Jaax's brother who is murdered in Kansas City in 1989. His murder is never solved.
One of the animal caretakers at the Reston monkey house. Shortly after Dalgard is told that the monkeys are infected with a strain of Ebola, Purdy suffers a heart attack and is hospitalized.
Sergeant Curtis Klages
A military representative involved in the Reston operation, Klages discovers a cache of dead monkeys in the facility freezer.
Captain Mark Haines
An army veterinary who works closely with Jerry Jaax on the Reston operation.
Specialist Rhonda Williams
A soldier assigned to the Reston operation who has several near exposures to the virus. First her air pressure malfunctions while she is inside the facility, then she discovers a tear in her suit. Later, while she is drawing blood samples, she is nearly bitten by an improperly sedated monkey.
An Army scientist on the Reston operation who develops a rapid test for Ebola virus in blood and tissue.
An animal caretaker at a second facility owned by Hazelton Research Products. While performing a necropsy on a monkey infected with Ebola, Coleus cuts his thumb with a bloody scalpel. Despite the fears of the scientists at USAMRIID, Coleus does not become infected.
A professional hunter and safari guide who accompanies Richard Preston during his trip to Mount Elgon and Kitum Cave. Married to Carrie MacDonald.
The Hot Zone Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Hot Zone is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The author reflects on the ease in which a virus like Marburg or Ebola can spread. It is an unsettling feeling he leaves us with. He goes back to the Kitum Cave and the Monkey house to see nature reclaiming the places but this time he wonders if...
Colonel CJ Peters was Chief of the disease-assessment division at USAMRIID. During the outbreak at the Reston facility, Peters is the official leader of the biocontainment operation. In addition, Peters is responsible for "news containment" in...