Infectious Diseases: Attack & Repulse

An old enemy was driven away from a major U.S. military base last week after a sneak raid in which it claimed five casualties, one of them fatal, and kept more than 12,000 men on a 48-hour alert. The attacker was only a familiar microbe, but it demonstrated a dramatic killing power.

Fortnight ago. Seaman Recruit Joseph Wilkowski reported to sick bay at the San Diego Naval Training Center. From his symptoms—including stiff neck and a rash—the medics decided they were up against meningitis, inflammation of the protective sheathing of the spinal cord and brain. And among...

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