In colonial Georgia, poor sanitary conditions at the Salzburger settlement of Ebenezer led to an environment in which malaria could prosper. Eventually the settlement had to be abandoned because malaria was present in all of the surrounding swamplands. In 1806 the capital of the state moved from Louisville to Milledgeville, in part because of concerns over frequent outbreaks of malaria in the Louisville area.
Malaria made its way to the interior of Georgia in 1807. Settlers who took over the land after the Native Americans were forced out cut down trees and opened up the soil, allowing the disease to spread. Malaria slowed the growth and economic development of part of the state, more so than any other disease at that time.
Malaria was eradicated in the United States in the 1940s as a result of improved housing, drainage of flooded areas, improved access to proper treatment, and the U.S. Public Health Department's campaign to eliminate the disease using indoor residual spraying of the pesticide DDT to control mosquitoes.
Despite the eradication of malaria in this country, CDC receives reports of about 1,300 cases every year. Most of these are acquired during international travel. About 75 percent of these cases are associated with travelers' failure to use the recommended preventive medications. In 2006 CDC received reports of more than 1,500 cases in the United States. In 2007, 39 cases of malaria were reported in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
The Atlanta-based humanitarian organization CARE works to eradicate malaria and other diseases in countries around the world.
Thomas Franklin Abercrombie, History of Public Health in Georgia, 1733-1950 (Atlanta: Georgia Department of Public Health, [195?]).
Bindu Tharian, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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