The culprit probably wasn’t what doctors were expecting when a 57-year-old man in Hong Kong came to the hospital. The patient was admitted to the intensive care unit in critical condition. A clue to the cause of the infection would lie in the man’s profession—he was a butcher.

From his clinical signs of fever, headache, vomiting, and dizziness, they suspected meningitis, an infection of the meninges, the tissues that cover the brain. Maybe they thought the infection was caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Neisseria meningitidis, two common causes of bacterial meningitis.

But they would be… more

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