Medicine: Q&X

Los Angeles was enjoying a hot winter (a record-breaking 83° on Christmas day), and suffering from two fairly mysterious minor diseases.

First came Q fever (so called because it was identified in Queensland, Australia, in 1935), a distant and comparatively harmless relative of typhus. Its victims, usually stockyard or dairy workers, develop flu-like symptoms. By week's end 116 cases had been reported.

The other disease puzzled the Los Angeles Health Department, which blamed it on virus X (so called because its nature is unknown). Its victims commonly suffer gastrointestinal upsets, occasionally inflammation of the nose and throat, and flu-like general aches...

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