The story starts off by describing the life and background of Charles Monet and basically how he contracted the then unknown virus.
It explains how he usually dealt with animals like monkeys and birds and how he was familiar with animals. The text then transitions to how he went on a trip with his friend to Mount Elgon in which they went into a cave. In the Kitum cave, they see elephants and bats, and even skeletons of hippos. After they go on this excursion, Monet returns to work and begins experiencing symptoms.
He becomes tired and his face is showing signs that he is ill. He arrives at the hospital and they only prescribe him antibiotics. However, they recommend him to go to Nairobi Hospital. To get there, he must board a plane. Throughout this whole experience, he is extremely contagious to anyone around him, especially since he vomits and bleeds constantly on the way there. When he gets Nairobi Hospital, he hemorrhages.
Now at Nairobi Hospital, Dr. Musoke first-handedly tries to help Monet by using a laryngoscope. He is right in front of Monet and Dr. Musoke’s hands are covered with his infectious bodily fluids. When the doctor tries to give Monet blood, his skin falls apart.
Even with Dr. Musoke’s efforts, he dies in a couple hours and the doctor himself begins developing symptoms for this unknown virus. Curious about what’s happening, other doctors send samples of Dr. Musoke’s blood to the CDC and other lab in Africa.
Dr. David Silverstein meets with the author of this book to explain the deaths of Dr. Shem Musoke and Charles Monet.
The doctor tells him about the history Marburg virus (the lab in South Africa had told them it was this) and how random the virus is. They also explain how random the virus is since it first was recorded in Germany. The virus also started with people who had close interactions with monkeys. What was also interesting was when the book explained how Monet had 2 other strains in addition to the ring-shaped Marburg virus. He also had the Zaire and Sudan strains, both apart of Ebola. The author now goes on to talk about the life of Nancy Jaax. He explains how he is in the Army Vet Corps and her overall life background. Nancy faces sexism at her job and learns karate as a result to defend herself.
She also has a family and has to work to take care of them (dinner, etc). Since they live near an ambulance station, they are also used to hearing the sirens. One night when making dinner, she cuts her hand deeply. This text just tells the routine and job of Nancy. She works with BSL 4 agents and her job is to basically find vaccines for diseases that aren’t treatable. Right now, she is working on a project concerning monkeys and how injecting them with the Ebola virus would affect them. Her specific role is understand why the monkeys die.
Nancy and Tony are also going to enter the Level 4 arena with the monkeys to dispose of the monkeys that died and analyze their bodies. Nancy removes the animals despite the risks of safety. Nancy and her co-worked both inspect the monkey’s body. They have multiple gloves on just to be safe and not get contaminated with the monkey’s blood which is very infected.
The author then explains the mechanism behind a virus and how they work. Basically, a virus’s goal is to kill its host. When looking at the monkey, proceeding with their surgical steps, Nancy realizes that the first layer of her glove has a line that is open and both her and Tony get extremely worried. Later on, they realize that she was indeed not exposed to blood with Ebola but insanely close.