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Patricia Sullivan

Anyone who lived in the American West in the spring and summer of 1993 remembers the unexplained string of deaths of (mostly) rural residents. I have a vivid memory of camping in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and thinking about the ways that virus can be transmitted -- while also trying to conserve water. It took awhile, but finally scientists reported that the cause was a hantavirus which came from deer mice, which were all over the place that spring. It turns out that two biologists, Robert Parmenter and Terry Yates, made the connection.

One of the reasons that obits are so fascinating is that adjacent to that kind of news, you'll find stories like these, a woman who started a fabric shop, or a roofing billionaire who fell off a roof. Who needs fiction when fact is so fascinating?

By Patricia Sullivan  |  December 23, 2007; 12:59 PM ET
Categories:  Local Lives , Patricia Sullivan , Washington DC-area people  
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