The interest, enthusiasm and occasional criticism aroused by the eighth International Conference of American States at Lima, Peru, last December offer opportunity to point out that when effective Pan American cooperation in most matters was still a dream of statesmen and scholars it had already been achieved in the field of public health, largely under medical auspices. International cooperation of the American republics in this field began at the quarantine conference held in Washington in 1881. There Finlay first enunciated guardedly his hypothesis that the stegomyia mosquito was the vector of yellow fever, then causing one epidemic after another from the United States to Argentina and Chile. When finally this concept was confirmed in 1900 by the American army commission headed by Reed, control methods were revolutionized and yellow fever was eradicated from all its old foci at seaports.
The Pan American Sanitary Conferences1 came into being as a
THE TENTH PAN AMERICAN SANITARY CONFERENCE. JAMA. 1939;112(13):1258-1260. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800130042015