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October 9, 1972

Health of Vietnam Returnees

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1972;222(2):210. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210020056018

To the Editor. —  In January 1969, I stated in an article in The Journal that it was unlikely that any infectious disease known to be present in Vietnam would become a major public health problem in the United States.1 Three and a half years later, despite the rotation of some 2 million men through Vietnam, that statement still holds. Nevertheless, there continue to appear in the press of this country statements that imply that returning troops are introducing significant amounts of serious infectious disease.As a matter of fact, the troops returning from Vietnam today are introducing even less disease than they were three years ago. Malaria, which at that time was the only significant threat, is at an all-time low in our troops in Vietnam because of the decreased exposure associated with the withdrawal from combat. The number of cases being introduced into the United States has