Malaria Epidemic in Haiti Following a Hurricane

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  • National Malaria Eradication Service, Haiti


An epidemic of malaria following the passage of a hurricane over Haiti October 3–4, 1963, is described. The epidemic started about 6 to 8 weeks after the hurricane and is estimated to have produced some 75,000 cases of malaria in a 3- to 4-month period. It is assumed that the rapid, simultaneous development of the epidemic over practically the entire affected area was facilitated by the presence of a considerable reservoir of gametocyte carriers, and the massive increase in mosquito breeding brought about by the heavy rains and flooding. The effect of DDT insecticide spraying in houses on malaria transmission in Haiti is still under investigation.

Any gains made by 2 years of DDT spraying have been completely wiped out by the epidemic and the malaria eradication program can be assumed to be starting over again in the affected area.

Author Notes

Chief Malaria Advisor, U. S. Agency for International Development/Haiti.

Formerly Chief Country Malaria Advisor, Pan American Health Organization/Haiti; now Chief Country Malaria Advisor, Pan American Health Organization/Brazil.