In 1918, the Spanish flu attacked young, otherwise healthy adults, killed quickly and often, and leapt from Europe to Wisconsin with unimaginable speed. Its cause was unknown; its mode of transmission was unknown; how to stop it was unknown.
As Wisconsinites push through a hard flu season, public-health officials are following a distinct mix of influenza strains and worrying about the effectiveness of this year's vaccines, but they're also thinking a lot about an intricate disease-tracking network that's been built up over time.
Dr. Bennet Omalu likens the American obsession with football to a religion. In that regard, he might be considered a heretic: Omalu has equated allowing children to play football to child abuse and warns that the NFL is doomed unless it starts reducing harmful blows to the head.
Wisconsin is in the middle of a national controversy about the health risks of contact sports, with research into concussions being conducted in the state, and a string of players who have left football after suffering brain injuries.