Feb. 28, 2002 -- In the four-month period from Nov. 12 through Feb. 11, seven world-class microbiologists in different parts of the world were reported dead. Six died of "unnatural" causes, while the cause of the seventh's death is questionable. Also on Nov. 12, DynCorp, a major government contractor for data processing, military operations and intelligence work, was awarded a 2 million contract to develop, produce and store vaccines for the Department of Defense. DynCorp and Hadron, both defense contractors connected to classified research programs on communicable diseases, have also been linked to a software program known as PROMIS, which may have helped identify and target the victims.
In the six weeks prior to Nov. 12, two additional foreign microbiologists were reported dead. Some believe there were as many as five more microbiologists killed during the period, bringing the total as high as 14. These two to seven additional deaths, however, are not the focus of this story. This same period also saw the deaths of three persons involved in medical research or public health.