Terry Yates, (505) 277-6681
Steve Carr, (505) 277-1821

October 24, 2001


The University of New Mexico has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million renewal of a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for continued ecological studies on Hantavirus in New Mexico.

The project, under the direction of Vice Provost for Research and Biology Professor Terry Yates, continues UNM’s and CDC’s pioneering studies on the causes and the timing of Hantavirus outbreaks in the American southwest.

The award allows for continuation of research conducted over the past five years on the population dynamics and transmission of Hantavirus in New Mexico. The continuation of these studies will improve understanding of the ecological dynamics of the transmission cycle of Hantaviruses in natural host populations and will provide precise data linking environmental changes in rodent population densities and the prevalence of infection.

“It is hoped that the studies will eventually lead to a model that allows us to predict human health risk to the disease in a very specific way,” Yates said.

Other investigators involved in the research include: Jorge Salazar-Bravo, postdoctoral fellow, Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB); Cheryl Parmenter, collection manager and data manager, MSB; John Dunnum, Brian Frank and Ryan Schwarz, field technician research associates; Bob Parmenter, ecologist, Sevilleta Long-term Ecological Research program; and Gregory Glass, John Hopkins University.

“UNM is widely recognized as a world leader in studies of emerging infectious diseases, including Hantavirus,” said Yates. “It is one of only a few institutions worldwide that takes a truly integrated approach to studies of these diseases ranging from basic biological research to vaccine development.”

UNM has also previously been awarded numerous research grants in this field including a large project to create an International Center for Infectious Disease Research focused on Hantavirus in Chile, involving interdisciplinary research by Greg Mertz, professor of Internal Medicine, Brian Hjelle, professor, Department of Pathology, Karl Johnson, adjunct professor in Biology and Medicine, and Yates.

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