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November 18, 1950


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the George Williams Hooper Foundation, University of California.

JAMA. 1950;144(12):982-985. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920120006003

Present day statistics indicate a striking decrease in the incidence of pandemic plague (Kaul,1 1949). A large number of areas formerly seriously infected are either free of plague or now have only sporadic cases. In regions where plague is transmitted by domestic rodents it is now feasible to protect human communities from this scourge by employing DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and sodium fluoroacetate (1080). With the measures now available, plague has been wiped out from entire towns and villages in South America (Macchiavello,2 1946).

In spite of the decline on a worldwide scale, plague has not lost its power to spread. In the Pacific basin recent local epidemics warn that, although the plague problem is solvable, it is not yet solved. In the postwar period extensive outbreaks have been reported from Java and China. According to incomplete information, during the first 42 weeks of 1948 there were 3,422 cases in

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