The Problem of Malaria Mortality in the United States

Henry E. Meleney Department of Preventive Medicine and PUblic Health, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

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Malaria, like most infectious diseases, presents two distinct problems, the prevention of infection and the prevention of death. The two problems are quite distinct and require different methods of attack. The prevention of infection is a long time procedure, employing chiefly measures to control or eliminate the mosquito vector, and progress has been slow except where personnel and funds have been adequately supplied to carry on intensive programs. Malaria mortality, on the other hand, is an immediate problem. It faces both private practitioners and hospitals year after year with inevitable regularity, expected and therefore neglected as a specific problem, tolerated as a necessary evil until the disease is brought under control.

Our attitude toward an insidious disease like endemic malaria is quite in contrast to that toward a more dramatic disease like encephalitis or poliomyelitis which occurs in epidemics, although there may be no greater loss of life from the epidemic disease.

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