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December 18, 1943


Author Affiliations

Medical Officer, U. S. Public Roads Administration BOSTON

From the P. R. A. Rancheria River Hospital on the Alaska Highway.; Dr. Marchand was formerly research fellow in pharmacotherapy at Harvard University.

JAMA. 1943;123(16):1019-1020. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840510013002

Native peoples in isolated parts of the world frequently experience fulminating epidemics following exposure to inhabitants of populated regions. The American Indians have recently experienced such epidemics along the course of the new Alaska Military Highway over previously remote regions of Alaska and Canada. Among these may be cited the diphtheria epidemic among the Indians on the Ross River during August 1943 and a pneumonia epidemic which has resulted in the death of 50 of the 200 or more inhabitants of Telegraph Creek, British Columbia, between October 1942 and September 1943. The sequence of epidemics at the Indian settlement on Teslin Lake, in the Yukon Territory, reflects certain endemic diseases of populous areas which may constitute a hazard to remote communities.

The Indian village at the junction of Nisutlin Bay with Teslin Lake contains about 130 individuals who have had little exposure to outside civilization since the great gold rush