February 14, 1948

Current Comment

JAMA. 1948;136(7):474. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890240040012

PLAGUE IN THE UNITED STATES  Human plague appeared for the first time in the United States1 in the Chinese quarter of San Francisco March 6, 1900. Between that date and Jan. 1, 1940 eight states reported cases of human plague—Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Louisiana and Florida. During 1946 infection had been found in ground squirrels and other rodents as far east as the Mississippi Valley. The United States Public Health Service has conducted campaigns for the eradication of infected rodents since 1908. The budget for such eradication dropped from $200,000 in 1912 to $51,000 by 1915. This campaign, coupled with efforts by the individual states, still continues but has languished considerably. Creel2 estimated in 1941 that a well organized and well sustained campaign financed by approximately $2,500,000 would virtually eliminate rodent plague in the United States. To date the needed funds have not been forthcoming. This

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