Personal Narrative: The Four Levels Of Biocontainment

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One quiet night in the Edmonton suburbs, I was sleeping peacefully until my cellphone woke me up.
The phone revealed that the incoming phone call was
From the CDC ; Centers For Disease Control.

Anyway, the doctor’s urgent tone of voice and short message caused me some level of distress, so I was silent while I listened to his brief message: “There is an unknown hemorrhagic agent causing terror and death in The Republic of the Congo, there is a possibility that this is an airborne biosafety level four agent. Come to Africa immediately.” Jeez, I thought aloud, an airborne level four agent, every doctor’s nightmare. I was in Africa by the arrival of dawn.

There are four levels of biocontainment: levels 0, 2, 3, and 4. For some reason, there is no level one. Biosafety level 0 is used for dressing scientists in the appropriate equipment for the pathogen/antigen they are
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The bed covers were a brown-reddish color and looked like they had been passed through a trash-compactor, the walls were covered in blood, vomit, bile, and various other substances that couldn’t be recognised on sight. But worst of all, was the scene in the middle of the one room hut; the large family consisting of a mother and her six kids huddled around a man who was lying by a fire, eyes glazed over and yellow. As we watched, the man suddenly pitched up and vomited a pool of blood with black specks in it, then lay down and closed his eyes. Oh, my God gasped the surgeon, who was by now retching himself. The family then proceeded to take the man outside, and, without emotion, dumped the body in a nearby river.

We moved on to the village hospital, where the epidemic had obviously spawned. Outside we dressed in our Chemurion biohazard suits, which are disposable field space suits with their own air supply. As we dressed, we heard the unwelcome groans of the agonized patients. Then we walked
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