Quiet and undetected like a ninja, a virus can quickly attack. Richard Preston describes the stealth behaviors of the different viral strains of Ebola and its development in the non-fiction novel, The Hot Zone. The Hot Zone explains the outbreak of the Ebola virus, demonstrating the danger of exposure to this virus. Several outbreaks and deaths are described in the novel, but through all Preston’s research and writing on the book, he has learned how to keep himself safe during his explorations.
Viruses are spread from the lack of resources such as clean medical supplies, funding, and a general lack of medical treatment knowledge. In the novel, The Hot Zone, the Ebola virus was first discovered in Africa. It was a new type of virus that was unknown to the people there.
When the virus started to infect patients in the hospital, it was not only because of the virus itself that caused it, but it was also the lack of clean medical supplies.
When nuns were giving patients injections for protection from the Ebola virus, Preston described, “There were five needles a day to give injections to patients” (Preston 102). The nuns at the hospital were reusing dirty needles for hundreds of patients, and as a result, caused an Ebola outbreak. To clarify, when reusing dirty needles it is very dangerous because infected patients can leave behind minuscule traces of infected tissue, which then can be injected into healthy patients’ bloodstreams, therefore making them sick. For this reason, when there is a lack of clean medical supplies the possibility of a virus outbreak is high-risk.
Furthermore, a virus outbreak can arise effortlessly due to no money or an inadequate amount. Poor countries such as Guinea and Liberia, has a bad health infrastructure and young adults with little or none education.
According to who.int, “Road systems, transportation services, and telecommunication are weak. These weaknesses greatly delayed the transportation of the patient to treatment centres and samples to laboratories”. With no money to build a hospital, school, or transportation system, the likelihood of a virus spreading is more prone to occur. Compare to other countries that has a lot of money, people have less risk of dying or getting infected because they have educated doctors, special medicine, and good transportation system. Therefore, with no funding to stop the spread of a virus, it is likely for it to continue to infect others.
There are countless ways that a virus outbreak can occur, and another reason why is the lack of knowledge. Western African countries, which had never experienced an Ebola outbreak, were poorly prepared for this unexpected disease at every level. wth.int stated, “…early detection of the first cases to orchestrating an appropriate response. Clinicians had never managed cases. No laboratory had ever diagnosed a patient specimen. No government had ever witnessed the social and economic upheaval that can accompany an outbreak of this disease. Populations could not understand what hit them or why”. With no information about a new virus breakout, doctors do not know the symptoms of the virus as well as finding a vaccine for it. Because of this, the virus can spread even much faster to patients, family, and friends because they don’t know how to keep themselves safe as well as keeping it from spreading. In addition, wth.int presented, “When patients were taken to treatment or transit centres, anxious families often received little information about the patient’s condition, outcome, or even the place of burial”. This article expresses that with no knowledge of the virus, there are no treatments for it and doctors can’t do anything to help the patients. When there is no cure for a virus, victims often have shorter life spans so they die much faster. In brief, information and knowledge are very critical when a virus breaks out. Without an important pieces of information, countless people will fall victim to the virus.
In summary, there are many factors that will lead to a virus outbreak such as, lack of resources which includes clean medical supplies, no funding, and a lack of general medical treatment knowledge. These examples demonstrated different types of situations that would emerge when a virus breaks out. There are many ways to prevent a virus from spreading as well as many other factors that contribute it to infect people. With this in mind with enough resources and knowledge about medical treatment, a virus outbreak can be prevented.