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May 16, 1990

CDC Nears Close of First Half-Century

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2579-2580. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190033010

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WHAT STARTED AS a small wartime mosquito-eradication effort is now the preeminent epidemiologic agency in the world.

CDC activities have swelled to undreamed of proportions, covering everything from a scientific assault on violence to the cloning of the CDC model to other countries.

Yet the philosophy and approach remain virtually unchanged with time. "Insofar as [diseases] are preventable, they should not be allowed to develop. The best way to forestall them is to foster training, investigations, and control technology as continuing and permanent elements under federal auspices," said Justin Andrews, MD, deputy chief of the CDC when it was officially established in 1946. The letters then stood for Communicable Disease Center.

The CDC evolved out of the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, which was stationed in Atlanta during World War II to control Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that posed a threat to soldiers and war-related industrial workers in the