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Virions of a hantavirus known as the Sin Nombre virus (SNV).

This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed the ultrastructural appearance of a number of virus particles, or “virions”, of a hantavirus known as the Sin Nombre virus (SNV).

In November 1993, the specific hantavirus that caused the Four Corners outbreak was isolated. Using tissue from a deer mouse that had been trapped near the New Mexico home of a person who had gotten the disease, the Special Pathogens Branch at CDC grew the virus in the laboratory. Shortly afterwards, and independently, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) also grew the virus, from a person in New Mexico, who had gotten the disease, as well as from a mouse trapped in California.

The new virus was called Muerto Canyon virus, later changed to Sin Nombre virus (SNV), and the new disease caused by the virus was named hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or HPS.

CDC/ Brian W.J. Mahy, PhD; Luanne H. Elliott, M.S.

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