Soper, Fred

Fred L. Soper

The Rockefeller Foundation

For administrative achievement in controlling yellow fever and malaria through a new principle of species eradication of insect carriers.

Dr. Fred Soper, associate director of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, was from 1930 to 1940 director of the Yellow Fever Service of Brazil, and was charged with organizing and administering mass eradication campaigns against Aedes aegypti, the carrier of yellow fever. The introduction of adult mosquito capture as an indication of hidden breeding places and the routine oiling or destruction of all breeding foci found, plus the intensification of careful administrative controls, so lowered the Aedes aegypti densities that by 1933 a number of the principal ports of Brazil, many of them notorious in the history of yellow fever, were completely free of the insect vector. The methods employed in Brazil were also applied in other South American countries.

In 1939, a campaign was also begun adjacent a vicious vector of malaria, the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, brought to Brazil from Africa. Adapting the bold technique of species eradication and using methods developed in the fight against yellow fever, Dr. Soper organized a control campaign that in less than two years eliminated the mosquito from Brazil. In Egypt, the gambiae mosquito, which had been causing the most serious epidemic of malaria recorded in Egyptian history, was eradicated only nine months after the organization of the Gambiae Eradication Service in June 1944. Dr. Soper, by organizing and directing the application of eradication techniques against the vectors of tropical disease in these areas, has made an outstanding contribution to public health.