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I am sure you would agree that modern, high-speed, commercial jet aircraft have figuratively shrunken the globe. In recent years, relatively vast new areas of the earth have been scrutinized by students of the physical and natural sciences. Our colleagues, the virologists, report almost monthly new discoveries such as the Whataroa virus, a new arbovirus isolated in New Zealand, the chikungunya virus, Kyasanur Forest disease, and a host of other unpronounceable agents, diseases, and locations. Yet, we in tropical medicine are not making many really striking discoveries. It may be that parasitologists, having started several hundred years earlier and being more adventuresome, exhausted the field long before the jet era.
In preparation for this Presidential Address, I have studied maps and charts in the hope of discovering a little-known geographic location with a little-known parasite or disease about which I could speak with authority or from experience.