Medicine: The Pigeons of Paris

People in Paris were coming down with something like parrot fevert—but they had not caught it from parrots. Dr. Pierre Lepine, the Pasteur Institute's virus expert, spent two years tracking down the culprit. Last week he had it: the plump Parisian pigeon.

Fortunately, the disease was taking a far milder form than in Paris' big outbreak in 1892, when there were 16 deaths among 51 cases. Most recent victims thought they had nothing more serious than influenza; the only deaths have been among elderly invalids. Even so, Lepine's report fluttered the dovecots of the Ministry of Health.

Lepine told the ministry there was...

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