Ebola in the Garden of Eden
I first mapped this novel out in 1996. It was originally called ‘Ebola in Eden’.
At the time Ebola was a virus that had already been around for twenty years. The first recorded outbreaks were in 1976 in Zaire and Sudan. The disease probably originated in primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas, and is also transmitted by bats.
It is quite likely that the first cases in humans were contracted from the butchering of ‘bush-meat’ by hunters who were killing chimpanzees and gorillas. The logging companies were opening up the interior and putting roads in to extract the timber. The hunters were using these roads to reach deeper into the jungles. They were encountering animal groups that had previously been isolated.
I was looking for a virus for my book that might possibly be used in the way described in this novel. I had a number of contenders but was attracted to Ebola because of the description of its horrific symptoms. A doctor performing an autopsy at the time described the organs of the victim as having ‘melted’.
The destruction of the natural environment, the massacre of wildlife, and the continuing destruction of our forests due to the increasing overpopulation of the planet is a source of great sadness to me.
I write in the hope that the worst may never happen.
Opher Goodwin 5.11.2014