Ecological Studies of Wild Rodent Plague in the San Francisco Bay Area of California

I. Introduction

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  • San Francisco Field Station, San Francisco 18, California
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There remain few arthropod-borne diseases in the United States which are of epidemic concern at the present time. This has been due largely to the rapid progress made in sanitation and in the improvement of living and working conditions for the major portion of the population. The rapid advances made in environmental control measures, the discovery and use of new insecticides, and strides in chemotherapeutic treatment and prophylaxis have also been of significant importance affecting the decline of these maladies. The arthropod-borne viral encephalitides seem to have usurped the central position on the stage of vector-transmitted diseases of man in North America.

This situation could easily lead to the entirely erroneous conclusion that we are permanently rid of such “classical” diseases as typhus, plague, yellow fever, and malaria. From the public health standpoint, it is important to emphasize that continued investigation, surveillance, and quarantine are necessary to maintain competent vigilance against possible outbreaks of these and other diseases.