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June 5, 1943


JAMA. 1943;122(6):376. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840230028008

Of the communicable diseases that may become epidemic in wartime, typhus is of most concern. In his comprehensive summary of the typhus situation in Europe and North Africa, Biraud1 of the Epidemiological Intelligence Service Health Section of the League of Nations points out that typhus is on the increase in the countries of eastern Europe in which the disease usually is endemic, in Spain and in North Africa, and that it has appeared in sporadic forms in regions of central and western Europe hitherto free from the disease. In eastern Europe typhus is not as widespread as at the end of the first world war. In the West Biraud does not regard the danger of typhus serious "so long as the population continues on the whole to be free from lice," but increasing economic disorder and destitution may result in spread of the disease.

The spread of European typhus,