Suppose a strictly one hundred per cent American plague showed up.... One that attacked only people within the political borders of the United States!
"What does it show?"
"Black-out. By order of somebody higher up--no medical releases. Must mean they've got it." He scratched the growing stubble on his chin. "If this were a fifth column setup, wouldn't the armed forces be the first hit?"
"Sure," Bettijean brightened, then sobered. "Maybe not. The brass could keep it secret if an epidemic hit an army camp. And they could slap a control condition on any military area. But the panic will come from the general public."
"Here's another batch," Andy said. "Small college towns under twenty-five thousand population. All hard hit."
"Well, it's not split intellectually. Small colleges and small offices and writers get it. Doctors don't and dentists don't. But we can't tell who's got it on the military bases."
"And it's not geographical. Look, remember those two reports from Tennessee? That place where they voted on water bonds or something, everybody had it. But the country doctor in another section hadn't
A fairly entertaining mystery of a strange, non-fatal plague that just infects certain people within the borders of the U.S. A couple of NCOs are all that is left of the biological warfare section of the Pentagon, and they have to not only figure out the cause before someone declarew war, but also fight off blowhard officers trying to interfere. The sexist ending was a bit of a disappointment, but probably to be expected given the times.
Though tainted with fifties movie stereotypes of female behavior and military problem solving, the story still rings true.
The greatest problem that the central problem of the plot has is the benign nature of the plague and it's Star Trek simple remedy.
Shades of October 2001's anthrax scares ring through the conclusion creating for post 2001 reader's a very believable, though unbelievably benign, threat.