Terry Yates - Hantavirus

Hantavirus

Residents living in the Four Corners region, which encompasses parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, began to experience a mysterious illness in the spring of 1993. The then unknown virus killed 32 people in just a few weeks, and sickened many others. The illness was originally nicknamed "Sin Nombre," after a New Mexican canyon where Spanish settlers massacred Native Americans during the colonial era.

Terry Yates, a professor at the University of New Mexico, joined an interdisciplinary research team charged with finding the source of the mysterious illness by the National Science Foundation. Yates, along with his research assistant, Robert Parmenter, isolated the source of the illness, which became known as the hantavirus, by using animal specimens which he had collected throughout the American Southwest. Yates found that the hantavirus was carried by the deer mouse, a species which had a higher than usual population in early 1993 due to unusually wet weather in the region. The discovery of the hantavirus' origin by Yates has helped to save lives and warn residents about the risks of the disease. The virus has killed more than 125 people between 1993 and 2007.

Yates spent the later years of his life studying the connection between wet weather patterns and deer mice populations.

The National Science Foundation named Yates' discovery of the cause of the hantavirus as one of the top fifty projected funded by the NSF which had the greatest impact on peoples' lives.

Read more about this topic:  Terry Yates

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