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In Pictures: Decades of Navy Efforts to Combat Malaria

Malaria and Epidemic Control Unit in Saipan 1940s
Navy "Malaria and epidemic control unit" in Saipan, 1940s. Photo Courtesy of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Historian, Andre Sobocinski.

Malaria is ranked by the Department of Defense as the number one infectious disease threat to military personnel deployed to areas where malaria is endemic.

This includes countries spanning the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including most of sub-Saharan Africa and larger regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, central Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

1974 - US Naval Medical Research Unit No. 5 in Addis Ababa
CAPT Craig K. Wallace, MC, USNR, Commanding Officer of NAMRU-5 attaches new door plaque identifying his command, July 1974. CAPT Wallace would serve four years in Ethiopia, first as OIC of the NAMRU-3 Detachment Addis Ababa (1972-1974) and then as CO of NAMRU-5 (1974-1976). Courtesy of BUMED.

The Naval Medical Research Center’s (NMRC) present-day laboratories are engaged in a broad spectrum of activity from basic science in the laboratory to field studies at sites in austere and remote areas of the world to operational environments. In support of the Navy, Marine Corps, and joint U.S. warfighters, researchers study infectious diseases; biological warfare detection and defense; combat casualty care; environmental health concerns; aerospace and undersea medicine; medical modeling, simulation and operational mission support; and epidemiology and behavioral sciences.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Bowes, Camp Lemonnier’s expeditionary medical facility senior preventive-medicine technician, places mosquitoes on a dish to view under a microscope at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Bowes, a member of the camp’s mosquito-control program, routinely analyzes mosquitoes to help determine the risk of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tom Ouellette)

Researchers at NMRC and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) have put significant effort into developing an effective and safe vaccine against malaria. A highly-effective malaria vaccine would be an ideal tool to prevent malaria in deployed military personnel and travelers, reduce morbidity and mortality in infants and children, and eliminate malaria from defined geographic areas through vaccine campaigns.

Lt. Cmdr. Kelly Larson, left, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Edward Lopez test a Togolese villager for malaria during an Africa Partnership Station 2012 in Togo. US Air Force Photo

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