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Sawbones: The Sleeping Sickness

An illustration of two blue snakes twisting around a radius and ulna bone topped with a handsaw coming off either side to form a caduceus staff. The snake on the left is wearing a red dunce cap and the snake on the right is wearing a red graduation cap. The background is a pop art style red to blue fade. At the bottom of the image it says “Sawbones” with “A marital tour of misguided medicine” written below that.

Starting in 1915, cases of something known as encephalitis lethargica started popping up around the globe. Symptoms were varied, but included some sort of lethargy or tiredness, with some more extreme manifestations. But exactly how many people were infected and what exactly caused this remains one of medical history’s greatest mysteries. So, yeah, we’re going to leave you hanging on that. Sorry.

Music: “Medicines” by The Taxpayers

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Transcript available here