Section I. INTRODUCTION TO MILITARY MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY
a. Definition. Entomology is the science concerning the study of insects. In its
broader and more practical application, entomology includes the study of many
arthropods, which are not true insects. Military medical entomology is the study of
those arthropods capable of causing injury or transmitting diseases, which may affect
the fighting strength of the Army. Rats, mice, and other rodents often play an important
role in the spread of disease and in providing harborage for insects. The broader area
of study, including rodents and other vertebrates, is known as medical zoology. Medical
entomology, then, is a branch of medical zoology.
b. Arthropods and World History. Arthropods have played a dramatic role in
the transmission of disease, not only in military history, but in world history as well. The
infamous plague, or "Black Death," epidemic of the 14th century killed one-fourth of the
population of Europe. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, seven men died---
mostly from yellow fever--to each one who died as a result of enemy action.
c. Arthropods and Military Operations Today. Our military experience in
more recent years has been less catastrophic, because of the advent of new and
improved techniques and medicines, but arthropod-borne diseases have been a major
consideration in all recent U.S. military operations.
d. American Soldiers Deployed Worldwide. Because of the nature of our
political commitments, American soldiers are frequently deployed to regions of the world
in which disease-carrying arthropods flourish. The diseases involved are usually
endemic; i.e., they exist at a low level among the natives at all times. The local
population has had an opportunity to develop a degree of immunity. The American
soldier, however, raised in a relatively sanitized environment, seldom has an opportunity
to develop such immunity and readily becomes ill when exposed to the agents of these
diseases. The importance of arthropod-borne diseases cannot be overemphasized in
planning for United States involvement in overseas operations.
Invertebrate animals in the Phylum Arthropoda embrace all arthropods. The arthropods
have an exoskeleton and jointed appendages. A few examples of these "joint foot"
creatures are lobsters, shrimp, grasshoppers, butterflies, spiders, and disease-bearing