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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 24(1); 2015 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2015;24(1): 35-65.
doi: https://doi.org/10.13081/kjmh.2015.24.35
U.S. Military Administration's Malaria Control Activities (1945-1948)
In Sok Yeo
Department of Medical History & Institute for History of Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. isyeo@yuhs.ac
Received: March 2, 2015;  Accepted: April 14, 2015.  Published online: April 30, 2015.
ABSTRACT
To prevent and control infectious diseases was one of the major concerns of U.S. military government when they stationed in Korea in 1945. It was because the spread of various infectious diseases can cause social unrest and they can also affect the U.S. military. Malaria was one of the most important infectious diseases to which the U.S. military had been paying special attention. The U.S. military received a severe damage during the Pacific war with Japan due to malaria. It was said that more soldiers were lost by malaria than by battle itself. The bitter experience they had during the war made them accumulate more systematic and practical knowledge against malaria. As a result, by the end of the war, the U.S. military could run more than hundreds of units specialized in controlling malaria. Thanks to such a preparation, they could immediately begin their anti-malaria activities in Korea soon after the World War II. Although the vivax malaria, which is the dominant type in Korea, is not as much a fatal type as that in the Pacific areas, it was damaging enough to the infected. The 207th Malaria Survey Detachment carried out collecting and identifying the kinds of mosquitos in Korea. In addition, they also surveyed the prevalence of malaria among school children in Seoul. In terms of controlling malaria, DDT played a decisive role. Vector control is the most effective and ideal measurements against malaria. Before the development of DDT, it was practically impossible to eradicate mosquitos which arise from extremely broad areas. However, DDT could not be used as it had been expected in the rural area, because spraying DDT in the rice paddies which is the breeding place of mosquitos kills rice. Despite such a limitation in anti-malaria activities of the US military government, it should be noted that a significant turn in controlling malaria was possible thanks to the development of DDT.
Key Words: anti-malaria activities, malaria, DDT, mosquito, vector control, U.S. military government
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