Medicine: A Visitor From Taiwan

Flu season begins with the last-minute appearance of a new virus

There had been early warnings, a few cases reported around the country. But then 44 U.S. Navymen in Key West, Fla., began complaining of sore throats, fever and chills. Last week, after taking throat cultures from the men, doctors confirmed the bad news: Taiwan flu has arrived and begun to take its toll.

Health officials have known of the new viral strain (actually a mutation of Type A influenza strains predominant in the U.S. in the 1950s) only since June, when the first cases were confirmed in Taiwan. Pharmaceutical companies, which had already manufactured a single-shot flu vaccine that is effective...

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