Ague in Ann Arbor
Then, in 1925, the U-M brought it back. Austrian psychiatrist Julius Wagner-Jauregg had found that high malarial fevers seemed to alleviate the symptoms of advanced syphilis. The discovery earned him a 1927 Nobel Prize, the second of four Nobels eventually awarded for malaria work. Following the New York State Psychiatric In¬stitute and the Mayo Clinic, the U-M began a program of "malarial fever therapy," in which patients were injected with malaria-contaminated blood. It remained the state-of-the-art therapy for advanced syphilis until penicillin supplanted it after World War II.
In 1947 the newly organized Communicable Disease Center (forerunner of today's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) launched a nationwide campaign to eradicate ma-laria. Through application of the pesticide DDT to millions of rural homes, malaria was eliminated as a significant public health problem in the United States within two years.
Similar eradication efforts in tropical countries failed, however, and were eventually abandoned. The CDC estimates that malaria still kills a million people a year, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Only in the past few years has the infection again become a global public health focus.