National Geographic New Series the Hot Zone

National Geographic New Series the Hot Zone

Samuel Stone

February 10th of this year, National Geographic premiered a trailer for their newest show, The Hot Zone. The series depicts the series of events that occurred in the 1980s when Ebola touched down on American soil for the first time.


It is based on Richard Preston’s book by the same title that was published in 1994. By observing the trailer one can see it follows the character of Colonel Nancy Jaax. In the book she is a character that worked at USMARIID, or United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. She worked in the Level 4 labs, a lab where one wears suits shown in this trailer and study “hot” viruses–or viruses that was highly contagious.

The series is based on of this memoir, that reported a series of years and went in-depth about the various strains of Ebola. One that they mention in this trailer is Ebola Zaire, the deadliest strain that infects humans–a 90% fatality rate.

The book is a long read but is riveting page to page and chapter to chapter. The biggest event being the center of this series from first impressions. This being the discovery of Ebola Zaire within monkeys that had been shipped to America for experimentation.

Peterson is a technical and vivid storyteller and 15 years later his story, more importantly those of whom he interviewed, is being told on a new scale.

One can expect there being dramatization, modification from the book. The book is based on of hours of interviews and of course there will be some details lost in the transition from book to television. What will hopefully never change is the message of how deadly this virus is and the sheer degree of the scare it brought when found back in the late 20th century.

The Hot Zone comes out May 27th at 9 pm central time on the National Geographic channel.