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October 11, 1965

Six Plague Cases Reported in Nation

JAMA. 1965;194(2):21-23. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090150123056

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A disease which has caused more fear among men than perhaps any other—but which is rarely seen by physicians—has in recent weeks appeared in five children in New Mexico.

It also appeared Sept 17 in a 5-year-old boy in California.

The disease is plague, the socalled "black death" that through the centuries has touched off pandemics which killed millions.

The six cases now confirmed in the United States make up the largest number recorded in the nation in a single year since 1924.

In October of that year, in a slum area of Los Angeles, a worried physician called the Los Angeles City Health Department to report that a number of Mexicans living in the district were seriously ill with what appeared to be a highly contagious disease. The general symptoms were high fever, pain in the back and chest, and production of profuse, bloody sputum.

The outbreak was quickly

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