Drugs: They Won't Take It

The medics at the huge San Diego Naval Training Center were baffled. They had beaten off one epidemic of meningitis among 12,000 seamen recruits, and they were confident that they were doing just what was needed to guard against another attack. They issued mountains of sulfadiazine tablets, and ordered everybody on the base to take two a day. The dosage was supposed to clean out transient meningococci, the microbes that cause this form of inflammation of the brain covering. But for five weeks, sporadic new cases of meningitis kept cropping up. The...

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