In 1989, in a scientific facility outside Washington, DC, the deadly Ebola virus made its first known appearance on US soil. The finding — and eventual containment — of this lethal filovirus, which had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent at the time, was thanks to a group of courageous scientists and soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Jaax. National Geographic's six-part limited series THE HOT ZONE, inspired by the true events detailed in Richard Preston’s international best-seller of the same name, shares the harrowing tale of a global crisis that never was.
The Hot Zone: Arrival
Lt. Col. Jaax is a wife and mother of two and has one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Every day, she dons layers of protective gear and enters the Biosafety Level 4 lab at USAMRIID, where she handles the world's deadliest viruses. In 1989, she arrives at work and tests a sample, which she fears it may be one of the deadliest viruses known.
The Hot Zone: Cell H
Lt. Col. Nancy Jaax takes matters into her own hands when she convinces an employee at the research facility to hand over more samples from the infected monkeys. Meanwhile, at USAMRIID Jaax and Jahrling test the new specimens and face the virus through their microscope. Jaax is determined to figure out the source and brings in Ebola expert Dr. Wade Carter.
The Hot Zone: Charlie Foxtrot
When representatives from varying agencies disagree on how to handle Jaax's discovery, she realizes there are few protocols in place for containing a deadly virus on U.S. soil. An employee at the monkey research facility falls ill, causing Jaax to fear the virus has spread to the human population. Travis Rhodes, from the Center for Disease Control, arrives with a different way of handling matters.
The Hot Zone: Expendable
Nancy Jaax begins to lead a team from USAMRIID to prepare for the most dangerous mission any of them have ever faced. With full access to the research facility, the life-threatening stakes cause great concern in the Jaax family home. Her husband, Jerry, searches for a way to protect his wife. Meanwhile, Jaax believes her mentor, Dr. Wade Carter, may have a different agenda.
The Hot Zone: Quarantine
Inside the primate research facility, unforeseen dangers arise. Lt. Col. Jaax works tirelessly in Biosafety Level 4 to find out why the virus is behaving differently in human victims than expected. With the daunting task of euthanizing monkeys, unforeseen dangers arise, and even the strongest of the team are pushed to the brink.
The Hot Zone: Hidden
An already volatile situation inside the infected research facility boils to a head. With Nancy Jaax stepping up while those around her fall, exhaustion threatens the precision needed to sterilize the threat. Their efforts to contain panic are threatened when the press arrive and neighbors become aware of the danger next door.