Monday, March 31, 2014

The Hot Zone - Day Six (Part 3)

For those who have been devouring the book, you may get started on Part 3's questions below!  Remember that you must take notes as you read to answer these questions. You will have in-class time during SATs to read, answer, and discuss the book with your classmates.

Why didn’t the army officials just let the virus kill off all the monkeys?
Compare the expedition to Kitum Cave (made by Gene Johnson) to the Reston operation. Were the hazards different? How did the goals of the mission contrast?
What are the similarities/differences between Kitum Cave and the Reston Monkey House as habitats for living organisms?

A Man Down
Compare Frantig’s symptoms with Monet, Musoke, and Peter Cardinal. Given Dalgard’s fears and what you know by now, what would you have said to Frantig?
Why is the Slammer a safer place to keep an Ebola patient than a community hospital?
If it’s hot inside and cold outside, what happens if you open a window? What are the dangerous consequences associated with this possibility?

91 Tangos
Jahrling is convinced that the virus us airborne and easily spread. McCormick thinks that it is not easily spread. Given Gene Johnson’s expertise, how would you evaluate the risk at this point?
Why does the coughing and sneezing worry Jerry? What comparison does the author make in this case and why?

How did they maintain radio contact with the outside? Why this method?
In debriefing this very long day, a) make a timeline of events (use the chapter subheadings if that helps); b) write four recommendations to CJ about things that worked and things that didn’t

A Bad Day
What is the rapid Elisa test? (Do the HHMI Virtual Immunology lab which is available on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute site,  - )
Compare Williams’ and Jaax’s story. Who do you believe and why?
“This environment favors the monkey over us.” List evidence to support or refute this statement.

Why is it better to dispose of the monkeys the way they did instead of just burying them? What improvements would you suggest?
Compare and contrast this virus and Ebola Zaire?
What disease did Milton Frantig actually have?
How did the CDC trace the origin of this collection of monkeys? What are their remaining unknowns?
“Sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart.” How does this quote apply here?
“You can never know when life is exterminated.” Research the domain of extremophiles, organisms that live in very harsh conditions. We know now that these are more common than previously thought. What are the implications of a toxic extremophile that is infected with a lethal virus?

The Most Dangerous Strain
How and where does a virus hide?
How did Ebola travel throughout the building?
How did the symptoms of Ebola Reston compare to Zaire? What was the likely method of transmission? In 3 of the 4 cases?
“Imagine a virus with the infectiousness of the flu and the mortality rate of the black plague.” What could we do to protect ourselves against this?
What causes Jaax to comment about the high level of sophistication of the virus? What would be the “most dangerous strain” of Ebola?
To whom does the CDC report? To whom does an animal importer like Hazelton report?
What steps did the CDC take to prevent another outbreak?
Given the similarities between Zaire and Reston, what is Jahrling’s ongoing concern?
What is the likely index case for Reston? What are some other possibilities for the link between the African and Asian strains? Why can we rule out convergence in this case?

The Hot Zone - Day Five (Part 2)

Please respond to the questions in your notes.  Thanks to Chloe' for the catch that I skipped posting Part 2 on the blog. The following are questions for Part 2 of The Hot Zone.

How many monkeys are imported into the United States each year? For what purposes does this happen?
What did he find out during the autopsy?

Into Level 3
Why did Dalgard decide to contact USAMRIID? Do you think this poses a risk to his company?
What characterizes the safety conditions in a Level 3 facility?
“A freezer can be hot as hell.” What does the author mean in this case?

Why was it a mistake for Geisbert and Jahrling to smell the flask?
The author switches from prepping for the EM to a description of Tom’s upcoming hunting trip and then to a description of the incubation period for the virus. Why does he employ this technique?

List three hypotheses about how the virus had apparently jumped from room F to room H.

“The incredible thing about living systems is that no matter how small the view, it is just as complicated as ever.” What does the author mean by this? Describe some of the complexity at the cellular or molecular level.
How did Thomas Geisbert determine that the cells under his microscope were a form of Ebola?
What were some of the possible modes of infection?
The author likens the image to the face of Medusa. Find a picture or image of Medusa, describe why the author uses this analogy and how it fits.

The First Angel
How do some patients respond to life in the Slammer? How would you react to being in a solitary confinement with a possible fatal exposure to some pathogen?
Peter thinks Marburg is not easy to catch. Dan thinks it could be airborne. What evidence do you have to this point? Make a list.
Review the 3 strains from the 3 patients, in a table like this:



Chain of Command
How would you answer Gen. Russell’s questions about evidence for the virus being airborne?  Summarize Col. Nancy Jaax’s arguments. Did she miss anything?
What is a thread virus?
What are three ways to eliminate a virus? Which are or are not applicable at this point?
What are the pros and cons of considering Army involvement? What would some of the different considerations and agencies be after 9/11?

Garbage Bags
They are all worried about the news media getting hold of the information. What do you do here? Keep it a secret, try to get out in front of the story, or let it all out at once? Debate or write a series of pros and cons for the decisions here. Write a potential press release to cover this situation. 

Space Walk
Describe the steps to take prior to going into a Level 4 zone.
How does the author characterize the states of order and disorder in life and death terms? Why are viruses an exception to this rule?

(choose two questions to answer from this section in Drive)

Why is Kitum Cave so important to the story? How was the monkey house like Kitum Cave?

(Choose two questions to answer from this section)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Hot Zone - Day Four

By now, many of you are using the GoogleDocs to gather the questions and should be finishing up Part 1.  Please comment on both Take Stock! situations and then respond to at least one other student's response.  Please have all comments completed by Saturday and responses by Sunday evening. This means you all need to have finished Part 1 by Saturday.  Monday, you will meet during class for discussion.

Ebola River
Where is the virus’ original spreading point? Who was the “index case”?
What is the fatality rate in Ebola Sudan strain (subtype) and how does it compare to the Marburg strain and to the bubonic plague in medieval Europe?
Take stock! What would happen if Ebola was let loose in a hospital? You would be safe, you’re in a hospital. Is this theory correct? Give five reasons why you feel safe or unsafe and one piece of evidence to support your position.
Define hot as it is used in this book.
Get a map of your region and make a quarantine plan. What roads, transportation routes, other measures do you have to close and why? Do you close going in, out, or both? (Complete this generally for the city of Lafayette.)
“The red chamber of the virus queen” is a metaphor to what other organism?

What is the distinction between parasites and predators?
Describe the shape of the virus particle called the 'shepherd's crook."
Take stock! What would you do in Nancy Jaax's situation?
Write a story about what might happen and the chaos that would go on if a student came to school with the Ebola virus. (You can do this activity as a group, if you'd like.)

Going Deep
What were the methods used to collect samples? Describe how light traps and pitfall traps work.
What is an antibody and how does this test confirm the presence or absence of a virus?
What does Pasteur’s quote “chance favors the prepared mind” mean? What were Pasteur’s contributions to our knowledge of bacteria and fungi?

The Hot Zone - current connection

Thanks to Katherine and Kyle for their dad's newspaper clipping regarding the current suspected Ebola outbreak.  Go to this CNN website, listen to the interview of the WHO representative, and read the article. 

What new understandings, concerns, or fears might you have now?  
How did the in-class and out-of-class virus simulation affect your understanding of how a virus can spread?  Post a comment and respond to another student's comment.

Copy and paste this link in case hyperlink doesn't work: 

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Hot Zone - Day Three

Read through the end of Total Immersion for Monday, March 24.  

Questions for Part 1:  A Woman and a Soldier, Project Ebola, Total Immersion.  Make notes as you read these sections for your in-class discussions.  You can take notes either in GoogleDocs or on paper.  Your choice, but you must have notes. 

A Woman and a Soldier
The author sometimes changes the narrative point of view as he’s telling the story. How is the narrative point of view different between the description of Charles Monet and the description of Nancy Jaax?
The author frequently uses the literary device of foreshadowing.  How is he using it here?

Project Ebola
Why does the author describe the location and ventilation system at USAMRIID?
What are two examples of the lethal microorganisms being worked on at USAMRIID? What are the fears of these agents?
Why does Gene Johnson have nightmares about airborne Ebola? What are the other vectors, or transmission paths, of infections (airborne is one method)?
Diagram the steps of containment as Gene and Nancy progress through the different levels.

Total Immersion
How are the blood samples stored? How do these facilities work? Why is this method of storage important?
What happened to Nancy Jaax while she was dissecting the monkeys with Lt. Johnson? What do you think is going to happen to Nancy?
Why do you think Nancy didn't contract the virus?
How many particles does it take to cause an Ebola infection?
The Hot Zone is a work of nonfiction journalism. How does Richard Preston know what the characters are thinking?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Hot Zone - Day Two

Questions to discuss for Part 1, Something in the Forest, Jumper, and Diagnosis.  Make notes as you read these sections for your in-class discussions.  You can take notes either in GoogleDocs or on paper.  Your choice, but you must have notes.

Something in the Forest:
The author uses a sensory image of hot and cold in describing the case. Why does he create this disequilibrium?
The author makes a distinction between lethal and nonlethal contagion. What is the difference?
List all the contacts Monet had, from symptoms to death. Then list the next three people each of those contacts might have had. How many possible infections do you have in this scenario?
Why don’t antibiotics work on viruses?
The author often switches from one narrative point of view to another. On page 20 (depends on version of book) the author switches from third-person narration to the second-person voice, i.e., “he” and “they” are switched to “you.” What is the impact of this technique? Why do you think the author does it? 
Is the agent that killed Charles Monet a character in The Hot Zone? If it is a character, what sort of a character is it and what role does it seem to play?

What did Dr. Musoke do that contributed to the spread of the disease? What would you have done?  
What is the significance of the title of this chapter?

Is a virus alive or not? How would you define life? What are the characteristics of a virus that make it seem NOT alive? What characteristics does a virus have that make it seem alive?
What is the WHO? What do they do?
What is the science of epidemiology? What is the root word structure of this field?