The Hot Zone Book Review

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The central idea of Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone is that the outbreaks of many deadly hot agents are due to the oversight of humans. Preston conveys his message through detailed descriptions of simple mistakes that characters make. One instance of human oversight that he wrote about was the usage of dirty needles in the hospitals of Sudan, leading to a massive outbreak of Ebola Sudan. The virus “hit the hospital like a bomb” and “transformed the hospital at Maridi into a morgue” all because “the medical staff had been giving patients injections with dirty needles” (74). Due to the blunder of the hospital staff, Ebola Sudan was spread much quicker and killed much more than it would’ve if they had used sterile needles. The outbreak was severely…show more content…
The Hot Zone depicts many ways that people have done more harm than good involving hot agents such as Marburg and Ebola. This can make people aware of the risks of being around hot agents and the experience of actually being exposed to a filovirus. Preston writes with straightforward language, making sure his audience understands the severity of the complicated matters he writes about. When a character named Tom Geisbert went to examine monkey blood for an autopsy, Preston wrote out his thought process. He wrote, “His breath stopped. Wait a minute―there was something wrong with this cell. This cell was a mess. It wasn’t just dead―it had been destroyed. It was blown apart. And it was crawling with worms. The cell was wall-to-wall with worms. Some parts of the cell were so thick with virus they looked like buckets of rope. There was only one kind of virus that looked like rope. A filovirus. He thought, Marburg. Oh, no. He almost panicked, almost ran out of the room shouting ‘Marburg! We’ve got Marburg!’” (148). As seen in the text, Preston wildly portrays his story with detail, making sure that the reader knows how serious this condition is. Preston is an incredible writer and The Hot Zone is captivating and useful to people interested in virology but I think it’s a great read for anyone interested in

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