Were Four Corners Victims Biowar Casualties?; November 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by John Horgan; 1 Page(s)
Could a mysterious disease that has taken at least 16 lives in the Four Corners region of the Southwest since this past May be related to the U.S. biological warfare program? In June, federal and state investigators blamed the outbreak on hantaviruses. Although hantavirus-related illnesses were unknown in the U.S. before this year, they have been studied by military and civilian researchers since the 1950s, when U.S. troops fighting in Korea became infected with a flulike disease that attacks the kidneys.
The virus, named after Korea¿s Hantaan River, is carried by rodents and is transmitted by airborne particles of the feces or urine of infected animals. The Four Corners illnesses were almost certainly caused in this way, asserts C. Mack Sewell, an epidemiologist for the state of New Mexico, who notes that the virus had previously been detected in deer mice in the area.