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To the Editor:
—In his comprehensive notes on organic life, during the voyage of the Beagle, Darwin just missed disclosing the rôle of the Anopheles mosquito. At Callao, July 19, 1835, he wrote:"The attacks of illness which arise from miasma never fail to appear most mysterious. So difficult is it to judge from the aspect of a country whether or not it is healthy that if a person had been told to choose within the tropics a situation appearing favorable for health very probably he would have named this coast. The plain round the outskirts of Callao is sparingly covered with a coarse grass, and in some parts there are a few stagnant, though very small, pools of water. The miasma in all probability arises from these: for the town of Arica was similarly circumstanced, and its healthiness was much improved by the drainage of some little pools.... The
Preston CH. The Mystery of Miasma as Darwin Saw It. JAMA. 1912;LIX(9):736. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270080418018