Medicine And The Media

Monkey business

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 14 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:134
  1. Adam Malin

    “Plague Monkeys” came to our screens, I am pleased to say, after my children's bedtime. This was not a B movie horror feature but a documentary recounting the outbreaks of Marburg and Ebola viruses. The programme opens with a monkey scampering through the jungle. The camera cuts to a pulsating green electron micrograph of the deadly virus. The voice over tempts us to, “Imagine a world where the AIDS virus, HIV, kills in two weeks [and] can be spread by the simple act of coughing.”

    Despite the usual hyperbole, the story is well told; in 1967, 27 workers preparing polio vaccine in Marburg, Germany, developed a strange disease. Headache, fever, and rash were followed by widespread haemorrhage and in seven cases, death. …

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