Connection to Deadly Disease
|Weather extremes caused by El Niņos can affect the spread of infectious diseases. In 1993, hantavirus, a respiratory infection, killed 27 Americans - all in the southwestern United States. Navajo Indians were among the victims of hantavirus. Navajo art has a long tradition of depicting a connection between increased rain, illness, and an important carrier of the hantavirus disease, the deer mouse. The 1991-92 El Niņo brought heavier than normal rain and snow. By the spring of 1993 seeds and nut crops flourished, and the deer mouse populations boomed.