Medicine: Snow-Mountain Sickness

In the rugged Schneeberg region straddling the border between Czechoslovakia and East Germany, the Russians have herded half a million human beings to dig uranium. Sanitary conditions are among the world's worst: open sewers and crowded barracks breed typhoid and dysentery, rats spread plague, and prostitution keeps the venereal disease-rate high. Last week, westbound fugitives from the mines told of an added horror which has turned many miners into choking wrecks: Schneeberger Krankheit (Snow-Mountain sickness).

In the Middle Ages, silver miners sickened and died of it. In the last century, cobalt and bismuth...

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