In October of l989, Macaque monkeys, housed at the Reston Primate
Quarantine Unit in Reston, Virginia, began dying from a mysterious disease
at an alarming rate. The monkeys, imported from the Philippines, were to
be sold as laboratory animals. Twenty-nine of a shipment of one hundred
died within a month. Dan Dalgard, the veterinarian who cared for the
monkeys, feared they were dying from Simian Hemorrhagic Fever, a disease
lethal to monkeys but harmless to humans. Dr. Dalgard decided to enlist
the aid of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious
Diseases (USAMRIID) to help diagnose the case. On November 28th, Dr. Peter
Jahlring of the Institute was in his lab testing a virus culture from the
monkeys. Much to his horror, the blood tested positive for the deadly
Ebola Zaire virus. Ebola Zaire is the most lethal of all strains of Ebola.
It is so lethal that nine out of ten of its victims die.
geniuses at USAMRIID found out that it wasn't Zaire, !
but a new strain of Ebola, which they named Ebola Reston. This was added
to the list of strains: Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and now, Reston. These
are all level-four hot viruses. That means there are no vaccines and there
are no cures for these killers.
In 1976 Ebola climbed out of its primordial hiding place in the
jungles of Africa, and in two outbreaks in Zaire and Sudan wiped out six
hundred people. But the virus had never been seen outside of Africa and
the consequences of having the virus in a busy suburb of Washington DC is
too terrifying to contemplate. Theoretically, an airborne strain of Ebola
could emerge and circle the world in about six weeks. Ebola virus victims
usually 'crash and bleed,' a military term...