Medicine: Gripped by the Grippe

While such natural hazards as snow, fog and heavy rains deterred most longdistance passengers last week, one world traveler got through unimpeded. Requiring no passport and thriving on inclement weather, the influenza virus designated A2-Hong Kong-68 was sweeping across Europe like a Mongol horde.*

The cause of Europe's vulnerability to HK-68 was its lack of what epidemiologists call "herd immunity." Unlike North America, virtually the entire Continent (aside from European Russia) got off lightly last winter. Relatively few Europeans developed either flu or the substantial natural immunity that the grippe confers against a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!