Behavior: Mass Hysteria

The epidemic that struck the staff of London's old Royal Free Hospital in 1955 was explosive. Within two weeks, the number leaped from five victims to more than 100. The hospital had to be closed to new patients on July 25, and it stayed shut until October. More than 300 cases were recorded, two-thirds of them severe enough to require hospital treatment. Virtually all of the physical symptoms fitted the concept of an infectious disease: headache, sore throat, malaise, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea. Since the Royal Free's expert microbiologists could find no bacteria to blame, they concluded that the cause...

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