In spite of widespread control and eradication campaigns, malaria constitutes one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the tropics. In 1957, the latest year for which comprehensive figures are available, nearly one billion people, or more than one-third of the total world population, were exposed to malaria infection. Malaria has serious repercussions on agriculture, commerce and industry. Wherever it exists, human progress is retarded or inhibited. Utilization of vast, potentially productive territories is barred by its presence. Malaria, poverty, low population density, and the lack of development are inseparable in the rural tropics.
Temporary mass migrations and military movements frequently bring susceptible individuals to endemic areas. Under such circumstances malaria exacts a severe toll. In the early stages of operations in the South Pacific during World War II, malaria caused more than five times as many casualties as did combat.
Department of Medical Zoology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D. C.