The Hot Zone

Introduction

The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story is a best-selling[1] 1994 nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston about the origins and incidents involving viral hemorrhagic fevers, particularly ebolaviruses and marburgviruses. The basis of the book was Preston's 1992 New Yorker article "Crisis in the Hot Zone".[2]

The filoviruses Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Marburg virus (MARV), and Ravn virus (RAVV) are Biosafety Level 4 agents. Biosafety Level 4 agents are extremely dangerous to humans because they are very infectious, have a high case-fatality rate, and there are no known prophylactics, treatments, or cures. Along with describing the history of the diseases caused by these two Central African diseases, Ebola virus disease (EVD) and Marburg virus disease (MVD), Preston describes a 1989 incident in which a relative of Ebola virus named Reston virus (RESTV), was discovered at a primate quarantine facility in Reston, Virginia, less than fifteen miles (24 km) away from Washington, DC. The virus found at the facility was a mutated form of the original Ebola virus, and was initially mistaken for Simian Hemorrhagic Fever (SHV). The original Reston facility involved in the incident, located at 1946 Isaac Newton Square, was subsequently torn down sometime between 1995 and 1998.[3]


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