Medicine: Manchurian Fever

Just behind the front lines in Korea last weekend, U.S. soldiers were diligently hunting rabbits. With trap and snare they were also trying to catch rats and mice. There was nothing frivolous about this: the soldiers were medical corpsmen, assigned to help run down an enemy which has killed at least 25 of their buddies and made hundreds ill since June: the virus, or something like a virus, that causes epidemic hemorrhagic fever.

This disease was first described by Japanese army doctors in 1939, when their troops came down with it in Manchuria (hence its popular name, "Manchurian fever"). The death...

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