Date of Original Version

1998

Type

Article

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

Yambuku is what the Africans called the Ebola virus that struck hundreds of victims in Sub-Sahara Africa in 1993 and received so much notoriety in the American news media. What most people do not know is that an outbreak of a "sister" virus to Ebola occurred in a small community in the Amazon Basin in Bolivia about one year later. Similar to its deadly and highly-infectious relative, the Bolivian virus killed mostly the poor indigenous people. El Typho Negro and Machupo are the names given to the virus by the Bolivians. Just as with the Ebola virus, the Machupo virus is also named after the river in the region of the outbreak. This hemorrhagic fever virus appeared in the town of Magdalena in July, 1994. During the first few weeks of July, the Machupo virus woke from its dormancy and emerged from the jungle. Señor Bismar Monasterio, father of three and a cattle rancher on the Campo Alegre ranch, was herding the cattle with the other cowboys. On July 10th, Bismar checked into the primitive hospital in Magdalena. He was experiencing symptoms of dehydration from vomiting and a high temperature. (The doctors suspected that he had salmonella, gave him infusions of an antibacterial drug, and released him.) Three weeks later he returned. This time, he was hemorrhaging blood.

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Published In

The Sloping Halls Review, 5.