The Center for Disease Control, a complex of red brick buildings sprawling on the outskirts of Atlanta, represents for the health of the U.S. what the grim, gray Pentagon does for national defense. The CDC's purpose is to identify, seek out and destroy both present and potential enemies of U.S. public health. Its activities take varied forms, some statistical and educational, but the most celebrated group on its roster is the disease detectives like those who have been struggling with the mystery of the American Legionnaires'Philadelphia fever.

Of course the medical sleuths are not...

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