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Sept 11, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(11):878-879. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130110104035

The best tradition of applied medical science was exemplified by William Crawford Gorgas in his use of knowledge of the control of vector-borne disease during construction of the Panama Canal. Although yellow fever and malaria were the principal hazards, the general planning for the control of the tropical environment for the workmen was an epitome of excellence. Gorgas, born into the army, was the son of Maj Josiah Gorgas who was assigned to the ordnance service in command of Mt. Vernon Arsenal near Mobile, Ala; his mother was the daughter of a one-time governor of that state.1 The elder Gorgas resigned his commission with the federal forces before the attack on Fort Sumter and served in the Confederate Army as chief of ordnance, rising to the grade of Brigadier General. Young Gorgas sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point; failing, he entered the service