Medicine: Variola Major's Trail

To fulfill their religious obligations, a group of well-to-do Yugoslav Moslems made a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and then visited Baghdad before returning to the Serbian province of Kosovo. Most brought gifts from Iraq. Yugoslav health officials suspect that some also brought back variola major, the most virulent form of smallpox. Two weeks after their homecoming —variola's incubation period—several of the travelers came down with smallpox, triggering an epidemic that has infected 155 and killed at least 28 in just a month. Only now is the outbreak being brought under control.

One of the first victims developed a severe form of...

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