The Influence of the National Malaria Society on Malaria Eradication

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  • Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service; Federal Security Agency, Atlanta, Georgia
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Of the 29 “charter” members (1, 2) of the National Malaria Committee, 3 are still alive. Since the Committee's founding less than a score of years after Ross discovered the key to malaria transmission, they have witnessed the conquest of malaria, and the resultant relief from its baneful effects upon human existence in this land. This transition is memorable in the annals of communicable disease control, but as some anonymous author has said, “What's past is soon forgotten and in the forgetting loses all substance.”

It was estimated in 1916—the year the Committee was started—that not less than 1,000,000 cases and 15,000 deaths due to malaria occurred in the continental United States. (1) Malaria was not the scourge then that it had been in pioneering days, but there were still plenty of areas in the southeastern coastal and fluvial plains where crops could not be made on good bottom land because of the ague, where wishful investors passed by promising industrial sites because of the local reputation for fever, where many of the white rural schools had “chillin'” beds, and where all country stores carried quinine and bewildering assortments of patent antimalarials.