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Syndrome K: The Fake Disease That Saved Lives

In the fall of 1943 German soldiers began rounding up Jews in Italy and deporting them by the thousands to concentration camps. Simultaneously a mysterious and deadly disease called “Syndrome K” swept through the city of Rome causing dozens of patients to be admitted to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. The details of the disease are sketchy, but the symptoms include persistent coughing, paralysis, and death. The disease was said to be highly contagious.

But “Syndrome K” was different. There was no mention of it in medical textbooks, ...

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