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May 26, 2009

Cough Syrup Sleuth

A few years ago in Panama, people were getting sick and dying and no one knew why. Doctors at one hospital only knew that 21 patients came in with similar symptoms, and 19 of those patients died. So the Panamanian government asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Danielle Rentz is an epidemiologist with the CDC who was assigned to work on the Panama case. She talks with Dick about the detective work it takes to figure out what's causing the spread of such an illness, how it feels to solve the puzzle, and why the Panama mystery was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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