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Book Review: Crisis in the Red Zone, by Richard Preston

By Annie St. Francis

Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
Crisis in the Red Zone

Crisis in the Red Zone is the true story of Ebola, one of the most terrifying viral pathogens known to man. In telling it, author Richard Preston, takes the reader on a journey back and forth through time, and around the world. Survivor interviews, and countless hours of research surrounding reports – published and unpublished – are the foundation and framework for Preston’s work. He masterfully uses these structures and narrative strategies to tell the stories of the few who survived their encounters with Ebola, and the many who did not.

Playful children including Emile Ouamoung. Village healers like Menindor who practiced medicine and mysticism in the form of ancient traditions. Loved ones who attended the dying, and those left behind to mourn and bury the dead. Clinicians including dedicated nurses and doctors like Dr. Humarr S. Kahn, and “Auntie” Mbalu S. Fonnie. Research specialists and highly trained experts including epidemiologists and virologists, among them Lisa Hensley. The volunteers of charitable organizations including Dr. Lance Plyler of Samaritan’s Purse. Hospital administrators and staff including Simbirie Jalloh. Government officials, among them Gene Olinger. Survivors including Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Each of these people becomes the voice of Ebola. In the telling of their encounters, the virus itself speaks.

Read the entire review here…

Reading In the News…

Posted at The New England Journal of Medicine: “Ebola Virus Transmission Initiated by Relapse of Systemic Ebola Virus Disease” By Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, et al.
“…investigations that showed that the patient had had a relapse of acute EVD that led to a transmission chain resulting in 91 cases across six health zones over 4 months.”

Posted at the New York Post: “Washington state monitoring 23 people for Ebola virus” By Natalie O’Neill

Posted at Great Game India: “China’s Secret Human Animal Hybrid Experiments”
“Dr Wiesendanger told The Sun Online a virus created or modified within the lab could be even more devastating than Covid – potentially with a death rate of up to 80 per cent.

Posted at The U.S. Sun: “Health Fears – Ebola ‘outbreak’ possible in Washington and Oregon as 27 people who recently traveled from West Africa being monitored” By Mollie Mansfield

Posted at Inside Nova: “Ebola Reston: A look back at the monkey house” By Kari Pugh
Editor’s note: This is an older news story from 2014, but important coverage of a current and ongoing threat to public health.
“Today there’s a Kindercare at 1946 Isaac Newton Square in Reston. But in 1989, it was the site of an Ebola nightmare in the making.”