CHILE: Aches & Pains

Heavily muffled passengers in Santiago's trim blue-green tramcars kept their distance last week, averted their faces when a fellow rider coughed. Movies played to half-empty houses night after night. As the year's first snowfall melted on Santiago's streets, Chileans shivered in one of the worst grippe epidemics in their country's history.

Some 40,000 santiaguinos suffered from the disease, including President Gabriel González Videla and Interior Minister Admiral Immanuel Holger. Characterized by high fever and acute stomach pains, this year's influenza-like grippe was far more serious than the native garrotazo (literally, "clubbing"), which has afflicted Chileans for decades. Said Dr. Mario Plaza...

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