Editor's Note: This is the first part of a two-part series on hantavirus, the mysterious and lethal microorganism whose sudden appearance in the southwestern United States last year led to the deaths of more than a dozen people and sparked a flurry of activity in the research community. The following article recounts the swift and effective response to the frightening microbe by scientists of various disciplines.

The second part of the series, to appear in the July 25 issue, discusses researchers' ongoing efforts to forestall further outbreaks of hantavirus-related infections.

A lethal killer, untimely death, and hardworking detectives- -all of these were ingredients in the mystery surrounding last year's sudden outbreak of a deadly strain of hantavirus new to science and North America. But more intriguing, say researchers, is the other hantavirus story--the galvanization of seemingly disparate lines of research to solve, in a matter of weeks, one of the...

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