Failed film adaptation
In January 1993, 20th Century Fox and producer Lynda Obst won a bidding war for the film rights to Preston's 1992 New Yorker article, which was being transitioned into the book. In response to being outbid, Warner Bros. producer Arnold Kopelson immediately began working on the similarly themed Outbreak, a competing film which would ultimately be a factor leading to the collapse of Crisis in The Hot Zone.
Directors considered for the film adaptation included Wolfgang Petersen (who would later direct Outbreak), Michael Mann, and Ridley Scott. Scott eventually signed on to direct the film in February 1994. Screenwriter James V. Hart was also signed to adapt the book. In late-April 1994, Fox announced they had signed Robert Redford and Jodie Foster to star in the film.
However, this version would ultimately not be made. Foster dropped out of the film just before filming was to begin and production was delayed with Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, and Robin Wright touted as possible replacements. In August 1994, Redford also dropped out of the film. A few days following Redford's departure, it was announced that pre-production had been shut down.
On October 16, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Ridley Scott again plans to adapt the book, this time as a television miniseries. Lynda Obst will again produce the series.