The field of tropical medicine lost a giant with the recent death of William D. Sudia, PhD, CDC pioneer, arbovirologist and entomologist. Dr. Sudia died recently at age 88 after a brief illness. He joined the fledgling CDC in 1951 as a medical entomologist in the Virus-Vector Unit in Montgomery, Alabama. He transferred to Atlanta in 1960 when the CDC built its first coordinated campus on Clifton Road.
It was in the late 1950s that Sudia worked with Dr. Roy Chamberlain to develop an innovative new light trap to capture mosquitoes for viral studies. This invention led them to be able to increase the number and variety of mosquito catches in the field, which ultimately led them to study eight different encephalitis viruses, three of which were new to science at the time. Over the next decades, his work was significant, impressive and inspirational to all who knew him or of him. He conducted major studies in most every state in the U.S., served as CDC consultant in numerous countries, and received the U.S. Public Health Service Superior Achievement Award and Commendation Medal.
Thomas P. Monath, MD, former ASTMH President stated that Sudia “is widely recognized by all arbovirologists as one of the great entomologists whose work lays the foundation for many of the principles of the discipline of arbovirus transmission. He also had a wonderful sense of humor and equanimity. I can never remember him getting truly upset even when things were difficult, and he always saw the positive and funny side of a problem. He had a remarkable fund of knowledge that I drew on as a young scientist getting into the field. He will be greatly missed.”
ASTMH is deeply grateful for the contributions of Bill Sudia.