The Cordilla virus was a type 3 pulmonary-immuno virus. The incubation period of the virus was initially 14 hours but decreased significantly as a result of the weaponized variant engineered by Marcus Alvers. The symptoms of the virus were nose-bleeds, hemorrhaging, skin abscesses and eventually death.
Over the first 12 hours of Day 3, bioterrorist mercenary Michael Amador, who had acquired the virus through Ukrainian scientists (including Yuri), staged a (fake) auction of the virus between Ramon Salazar's crime syndicate and a terrorist using Nina Myers as a proxy (intervention in this auction and the securing of the virus were the target objectives of the Cordilla virus sting operation).
Over the course of the day's second half, Stephen Saunders used the virus to hold entire American cities hostage and force President David Palmer to enact his terrorist demands. The virus was ultimately neutralized, with only one successfully attacked target.
Before Day 3
Codenamed "Cordilla", the virus was engineered by rogue Ukrainian scientists, who sought to sell it via a black market auction. The virus was given to an intermediary, bio-terrorist Michael Amador, who arranged the auction in Las Nieves, Mexico on Day 3. To prove the lethality of the virus, the Ukrainians infected David Goss and a number of Mexican civilians with it.
One month before Day 3, Jack Bauer found about the auction. Jack, Tony and Gael worked up a covert operation to acquire the virus through prospective black market buyers, brothers Ramon and Hector Salazar, and then seize it during the sale.
Discovery and acquisition
At the start of Day 3, the infected corpse of David Goss was delivered to the door of the National Health Services in Los Angeles. NHS Technical Director, Dr. Sunny Macer, who had been working with a similar virus, tested it and confirmed it was the Cordilla virus.
Also, a teenager called Kyle Singer was suspected with carrying a bag with the virus, which resulted in an elaborate search for him through Los Angeles. It was later discovered that this was just a diversion part of Jack's covert operation.
Jack, who was undercover with the Salazars, had arranged for them to participate in Michael Amador's auction. The other bidder was an unknown party represented by Nina Myers and Cale. Nina's client outbid the Salazars by $15 million. Amador contacted Yuri, his Ukrainian contact, and informed him that the sale would occur soon.
Shortly after, Nina's entourage was killed, and she was forced to work with the Salazars. She went with a Salazar bodyguard and determined that the virus was real, and made the transfer from her client's account. Without his Ukrainian employers knowledge, Amador secretly switched the virus container with a hidden bomb and departed with the real virus. The bomb, meant for Nina or her client, instead detonated in the hands of Ramon Salazar, destroying him in an instant.
Amador had his mercenaries ambush Capt. Reiss and a Delta Force team which tried to stop him to make it to a private jet where he'd fly to Los Angeles. At a dance parlor, he handed off the virus to Marcus Alvers, and then sold it to the real buyer, Stephen Saunders. Saunders worked in collaboration with Alvers to develop a weaponized and aerosolized variant, manufactured to have a shorter incubation period than the original strain.
Saunders used the threat of releasing the Cordilla virus to coerce President David Palmer to enact his demands. President Palmer chose to co-operate with the demands for a short time, including having Ryan Chappelle executed, but only to give CTU Los Angeles and various government agencies time to find the bio-terrorist ringleader.
Chandler Plaza Hotel outbreak
With orders from Saunders, Marcus Alvers released the virus into the Chandler Plaza Hotel, killing Gael Ortega and infecting most of the hotel guests and staff. Michelle Dessler went to the hotel (later joined by Drs. Macer and Nicole Duncan) to contain the virus within the building, and by treating the hotel guests as best they could. Michelle was forced to shoot one irate man trying to escape, to prevent the risk of exposing the virus to the public. The small number of immune guests and CTU personnel survived the attack.
Unknown to the authorities at the moment, a hotel guest called William Cole managed to escape from the hotel before it was shut down. Cole, who had just had a one-night stand with Kathy McCartney, returned home to his wife, infecting her as well. On his way to work later that morning, he went to a pharmacy infecting several more people in the process. This resulted in multiple outbreaks in various points of Los Angeles.
Alvers turned out to be only one of twelve virus couriers working for Saunders and his right-hand man, Osterlind. Once the virus was weaponized, it was divided into twelve stolen Ukrainian gas-dispersal devices, stored in special suitcases, and handed off to the other couriers. One, Arthur Rabens, remained in Los Angeles, and another, Ian, went to San Francisco. The others traveled to New York, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, and two each in Flagstaff and Washington DC (two original targets cities, Chicago and Cleveland, had to be changed). They then awaited a signal from Saunders to release the virus and infect their cities.
When President Palmer refused to comply with one of Saunders' demands: to give Saunders a list of American undercover agents abroad, Saunders called Ian, the courier in San Francisco, and ordered the virus released. He quickly rescinded the order when Jane Saunders, his daughter, called him. Jane had been secretly recruited to work against her father by Agent Jack Bauer, and with her help CTU discovered where Saunders was operating. Saunders was eventually captured, but revealed that his couriers had orders to release the virus by default if he was incommunicado. Jack Bauer eventually threatened to move Jane into the Chandler Plaza Hotel, where she would become infected by her father's own bioweapon. To save his daughter, Stephen relented and surrendered the GPS signals of all his couriers.
The various law enforcement agencies of the US then acted quickly and in tandem to bring down all of Saunders' couriers. The San Francisco courier, Ian, was taken down with a headshot; the Denver courier was shot while making a phone call; the threats in Seattle and Las Vegas were both neutralized "without incident"; the New York courier was arrested and his virus dispersal unit was defused while clamped to a railing in a public place; and all but one of the remaining threats were neutralized as well.
While Saunders was trying to identify the last active courier on a computer monitor, he was shot to death by the bereaved widow of Gael Ortega, an early victim of the virus. However, Jack Bauer and Chase Edmunds, found a lead and pursued the courier, Arthur Rabens, to a school. Edmunds fought Rabens and was beaten down, but not before he attached the virus dispersal unit's clamp to his arm to prevent Rabens from fleeing with it. Bauer arrived and killed Rabens, but had to chop off Chase's hand with a fire-ax to access the virus. He tied off Chase's wound, and ran the unit to a refrigerator he had seen in a lounge earlier. There, he sealed it in, and the last of the virus dispersed harmlessly inside the contained environment.
People exposed to the virus
Before Day 3
|Picture||Name||Outcome of viral exposure|
|David Goss||Lethal infection|
|The body of David Goss, a former drug dealer, was delivered to the Los Angeles office of National Health Services as a demonstration of the Cordilla virus's effects. Believed to be a threat by the Salazars, the event was later revealed as part of a sting operation by CTU to apprehend the virus.|
|(Mexican civilians)||Lethal infections|
|The corpses of more than a dozen Mexicans who died of the virus before Day 3 were disposed of by Oriol on orders of Hector Salazar at the beginning of the day.|
Inside the Chandler Plaza Hotel
- See Chandler Plaza Hotel for a list of persons exposed to the virus at that location
Outside the Chandler Plaza Hotel
|Picture||Name||Outcome of viral exposure|
|Susan Cole, William Cole's wife, contracted the virus when he returned home from the Chandler Plaza. Because she was never shown to be symptomatic, there is a chance that she had a natural immunity to the virus and survived.|
|Anne, a shopper at the pharmacy run by Sam Tyler, was near infected customer William Cole and may have been exposed to the virus. She was identified and quarantined by CTU soon after.|
|This pharmacist came into contact with William Cole and may have been exposed to the virus. He was identified and quarantined by CTU soon after, along with some of his customers.|
|(Studio City nurse)||Unknown|
|The nurse at the reception desk was among those at a Los Angeles emergency care facility who may have been infected with the virus.|
|Dr. Joyner was among those at a Los Angeles emergency care facility who may have been infected with the virus.|
|Sara Kaufman||Lethal infection|
|Sara Kaufman, sister of CTU analyst Adam Kaufman, turned up in one of the quarantine zones in Los Angeles and began to display symptoms of the virus. Adam was devastated to learn that she would soon die.|