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Name: Neil A. Shah
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
I've heard (from Mr. Sample) that there is some virus that was found in a bunch of monkeys in New Jersey. He said that this virus came from Africa. He wouldn't tell us more because he "Didn't want to scare us."
Tell me more, please?!?!
[This was supposed to be this "mega" virus that would supposedly be the next plague or something ( sorry for the vagueness, it's all because Mr. Sample wouldn't tell us).]



Replies:
Neil,

I really can't comment much beyond what Mr. Sample mentioned to you. A story I heard involved a laboratory in the Washington D.C. area. The disease was found in the imported monkeys, no humans were infected, and all of the monkeys were destroyed.

What can be said is just a few words about viruses in general. Viruses are interesting because they change their character often. Just when we think we have them 'licked' they go and change and become different, sometimes resistant to drugs we use to combat them. In addition, you can see the importance of getting things like immunizations for prevention of childhood viruses before entering school as a child. In addition most countries require immunizations (shots) before you are allowed entry, both to protect yourself and those already in the country.

You might ask Mr. Sample how you might learn more about viruses (not just scary things, but ALL the facts) at your school or city library. The library people can give you instructions for finding current or recent articles on viruses. You might consider providing Mr. Sample with an article or two, or you might even try an extra- credit type of report on your findings. While they can be scary they are all around us and can really be fascinating. Good Luck!

Ric (rickru)

Thanks for using NEWTON!


Ric's response is a good one: if you want to learn more, head for the libraries! Let me give you a few more clues to help your search. The virus in question here is, I think, the Ebola virus and its relative the Marburg virus. Ric is correct in describing an outbreak of this virus in a primate research center in the Washington DC area. Humans have been infected by this virus, with very dramatic and rapid (and deadly) consequences. With our ability to travel so rapidly anywhere in the world, the spread of such viruses is of concern to some people. I vaguely recall a discussion of this topic in one of the science journals recently....if I come across it soon, I'll post another response here.

Steve J Triezenberg



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