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When I first went to Microbiology class I was given a book called “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston. I thought it was a funny thing to do for a microbiology class, like why would we get a non-fiction book to read. When I started reading I directly fell in love with some of the viruses that it was talking about, as weird as that sounds. The description of what these small viruses were able to do was epic it seemed so vivid that I could clearly visualize it. The two viruses both cause hemorrhagic fever, and they are related since they belong to the same family of viruses that are known as Filoviridae. Those two viruses are Ebola (the red structure in the picture) and Marburg (The green structure in the picture). As is evident in the picture I drew those viruses have two very similar structures, filamentous to be exact, the only difference is that  is that Ebola tends to take the fish hook structure at the top, while the Marburg virus tends to loop into an almost six figure. Another difference between these two viruses is that they trigger different antibodies. When they infect the body they both act rapidly, causing initially the normal symptoms of a viral infection which include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, the feeling of weakness, headache and some other symptoms. However in later stages the patient starts vomiting black blood, in addition to internal and external hemorrhage, which in most cases is fatal. The fatality rate for these diseases are usually ranging from 50-90%, since the only treatment is supportive care and there is no known treatment or vaccine. These viruses come from Africa are suspected to have an animal host, and most likely originated in caves. The only way these viruses spread is by contact with blood and body fluids, which is basically why the patient bleeds out until he dies. As horrible as that sounds these two viruses had me bewildered, I heard of hemorrhagic fever, but I have never actually heard of the extent to what it can do, or the damage that can be done to the patient. There is work being done to figure out a cure or even a vaccine, but it is extremely hard (mutation rate just like other viruses) and not just that it is extremely dangerous to deal with Ebola and Marburg. Those two are the reason I fell in love with microbiology and research, viruses, and bacteria are extremely small but have the power to cause a lot of damage but not only to us humans but to other primates as well. They are simply fascinating organisms.

 

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