At the turn of the 20th century, the world was gripped by a plague pandemic that had spread from China to port cities around the globe. So when a 41-year-old San Franciscan named Wong Chut King died of a particularly violent disease in March 1900, there were worries that the pandemic had finally reached U.S. soil.
After examining samples from King’s autopsy, the head of the city’s Marine Hospital Service confirmed those fears: the plague had come to America. And unfortunately, it never left.
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