February 23, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 8

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Murine typhus topic of discussion March 9

Gregory Anstead

Dr. Gregory M. Anstead, assistant professor in the department of medicine and staff physician in medical services at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, will address the social conditions, technology and public health interventions that affect the epidemiology of murine typhus at noon Friday, March 9, in the Special Collections Conference Room, fifth floor of the Briscoe Library. The free event is hosted by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and is open to the public.

Murine typhus, an infection causing fever, hepatitis and rash, was recognized as a serious public health threat in the American South in the 1920s. The rat was the principal carrier of the disease.

The incidence of the disease increased dramatically through the 1930s until the end of World War II because of the dilapidated state of housing in the Depression, New Deal agricultural policies and the chaotic urbanization brought about by the war.

Improved housing, aggressive efforts by the U.S. Public Health Service and the availability of effective insecticides and rodenticides finally weakened its hold. However, murine typhus remains prevalent in the Texas Gulf Coast and Rio Grande Valley, with its major carrier now being the opossum.

For more information, call Patricia Brown or Pennie Borchers at ext. 7-2400.