The Confusing Epidemiology of Malaria in California

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  • Oroville, California

Some fifteen years ago I wrote (Herms and Gray, 1940) that in any long existing situation a sceptical attitude may be valuable, for it is possible that an idea which has stood unchallenged for a generation may be wrong at least in part, not having kept pace with the accretions of new information.

Since at least 1910 it has been generally held that Anopheles freeborni was the vector of malaria in California, and that other anophelines had slight if any part in the chain of transmission. On the basis of the malaria then existing in California it appeared to be the principal if not the only effective vector. But in recent years more complete information as to the early history of the disease in the State, together with numerous observations by many workers in the field of mosquito control concerning the habits of the anophelines in California, as well as some recent outbreaks of malaria which differed in pattern from previous epidemic situations, have thrown doubt on the role of A. freeborni as the principal vector.