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Preface

Contents

PREFACE

    Although military preventive medicine has greatly broadened its scope, the control of communicable diseases continues to be the central activity. In the present volume and two to follow, the primary objectives are to indicate the magnitude of the communicable disease factor in United States Army operations in World War II and to define and characterize the problems of communicable disease in military practice as distinct from those of civilian life.

    There has been a notable decline in death rates from communicable diseases in the United States and in many other countries. In World War II, for the first time in the history of United States Army wartime military, operations, the number of deaths from disease in the Army was less than the number of deaths from battle casualties. This fact is encouraging and reflects great credit upon the Medical Department and those individuals who were primarily concerned with the health and welfare of the troops. The death rates do not, however, tell the whole story. During World War II, disease ranked first among the three major categories of military casualties (disease, battle casualty, and nonbattle casualty) as a cause of disability in the Army and was the main component in the noneffective rates. Disease was therefore a significant drain on the operating efficiency of the Army.

    There are, many reasons why the communicable diseases must continue to be a major concern of military preventive medicine. The prime military consideration is the maintenance of a maximally effective fighting force. Experiences of World War II demonstrated that this must be achieved for troops operating in all parts of the world, under a wide variety of climatic, sanitary, and epidemiologic environments. Rates and ranges of movement and concentration and other circumstances of troops, as well as local populations and prisoners of war, expose military personnel to hazards of communicable disease not present in peacetime civilian life. Such conditions as the diarrheas and dysenteries, epidemic hepatitis, common upper respiratory infections, fungus infections, the exanthemata of childhood, and many others present special problems in wartime military practice. Vigilance, planning, and foresight and the proper indoctrination and education of commanders and troops at all echelons are needed to control these conditions as well as to minimize the likelihood of epidemics of internationally quarantinable diseases such as smallpox and plague.

    The authors of chapters in this volume were chosen, as were authors of the other volumes of this series, by the Advisory Editorial Board for the preventive medicine volumes of the official history of the Medical Department in World War II. These authors have been selected because of their experience and distinction in their special fields. They are all very busy people, and it has therefore been the more gratifying that they have so willingly and generously given of their time to this project. Sincere appreciation is due to members of the Advisory Editorial Board for their over-all planning and supervision as well as for help and advice, as a group and individually, in reviewing manuscripts and making suggestions in numerous detailed matters.

    Thanks are extended to many others who have contributed materially through their response to requests for advice and guidance. The authors and editors are grateful to the following who acted as reviewers for various chapters in this volume: Dr. Theodore J. Abernetliy, Dr. Donald L. Augustine, Dr. Theodore L. Badger, Dr. Stanhope Bayne-Jones, Brig. Gen. George R. Callender Dr. Carroll Faust, Dr. John E. Gordon, Dr. Richard G. Hodges, Dr. Chester S. Keefer, Col. Arthur P. Long, Col. Karl R. Lundeberg, Dr. Karl P. Meyer, Dr. Harry Most, Dr. Elliott S. Robinson, Dr. Philip E. Sartwell, Dr. John C. Snyder, Dr. Wesley W. Spink, Dr. Franklin H. Top, Dr. Douglass W. Walker, and Dr. James Watt.

    Through the generous cooperation of the President, Chancellor, Administrative Officers, and Staff of the Medical College of Virginia, the work of the Editorial Office, located at the Medical College, has been facilitated and aided. Sincere thanks are expressed to President R. Blackwell Smith, Jr., Chancellor William T. Sanger, and Maj. Gen. William F. Tompkins, Comptroller. Their continuing support and encouragement is deeply appreciated. Thanks are accorded to Miss Margaret McCluer, Librarian of the Tompkins-McCaw Library of the Medical College of Virginia, and her staff for their friendly interest and assistance. Sincere thanks are also expressed to the following secretaries who worked on these manuscripts in the Editorial Office: Mrs. Jacqueline Pate, Mrs. Geraldine Glick, Mrs. Jeannette Martin, and Mrs. Virginia Wilson. Their painstaking attention to the technical details of manuscript preparation has greatly expedited this project. Dr. Audrey A. Bill served as a member of the Editorial Staff for several years and has contributed to the editorial preparation of several of the chapters of this volume. Her cooperation is gratefully acknowledged.

    The relevancy of statistics in a volume on communicable diseases is self evident. The authors and editors have relied greatly upon the services of the Medical Statistics Division. Mr. E. L. Hamilton, Chief, Mr. A. J. McDowell, Assistant Chief, and Mr. M. C. Rossoff, Assistant Chief, Statistical Analyses Branch, have not only provided essential data but also checked and reviewed all statistical information in this volume. We are greatly indebted to them. The Scientific Illustration Division, Medical Illustration Service, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, under the direction of Mr. Herman Van Cott, prepared the illustrations for this volume. We are happy to express to the various branches of the Historical Unit appreciation of their work: The Research and Archives Branch, devotedly led by Mrs. Josephine P. Kyle, provided essential source material and spent many hours locating and verifying references; the Administrative Branch, first under direction of Mrs. Catherine Marshall and later of Mrs. Hazel Hine, gave administrative support and typed the final copies of these chapters.

EBBS CURTIS HOFF, Ph. D., M. D.