Dr. Fred Lowe Soper, 83, director emertitus of the Pan American Health Organization who gained world recognition for his work on disease control, died Wednesday in Wichita, Kan.
A resident of Chevy Chase for many years, he had moved to Wichita last fall.
Dr. Soper's work in the investigation and control of yellow fever, malaria and typhus and been done over many years and on three continents, mainly South America.
Born in Hutchinson, Kan., he was a graduate of the University of Kansas and Rush Medical College in Chicago, He held a doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University.
After completing his internship at Cook County Hospital, he joined the staff of the international health board of the Rockfeller Institute and was sent to Brazil, where he worked until 1942, except for three years in Paraguay.
Dr. Soper's early work was aimed at controlling hookworm disease in Brazil. In 1927, he was named the Rockefeller Foundation's regional director for South America.
During the 1930s, he identified and named the jungle form of yellow fever; helped develop methods for eradicating the urban vector of yellow fever, and led a successful campaign to eradicate a strain of malaria in Brazil that had caused an epidemic after the invasion of an African mosquito.
During World War II, Dr. Soper worked with the U.S. Typhus Commission in Egypt. His again organized a successful campaign against a malaria epidemic in Upper Egypt.
He then did research to control the body louse that transmits the epidemic form of typhus fever prevalent in Europe in the years before World War II.
Dr. Soper later moved to Algiers, where he set up the Rockefeller Foundation typhus team. It perfected a new technique for delousing people without removing their clothing. The technique was used extensively by Allied armies to stop typhus epidemics at the end of the war.
In 1947, Dr. Soper was elected director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, which later became the Pan American Health Organization. He served in that position until 1959.
During his tenure, the organization's activities expanded greatly and t became the regional office of the World Health Organization for the Americas.
After his retirement in 1959, Dr. Soper became director of the Cholera Research Laboratory in Dacca, Bangladesh. He also was a consultant to the Rockfeller Foundation and the U.S. Public Health Service.
He was scholar-in-residence at the National Library of Medicine here and a member of the Johns Hopkins Soiceity of Scholars.
Dr. Soper belonged to many scientific and medical organizations and wrote more than 100 papers on public health and tropical diseases. He had received prestigious awards from this country, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venzuela and Egypt.
He is survived by a sister, Mrs. Hohn W. Lonnberg, of Wichita, and three brothers, Dr. H. Vern Soper, of Los Angeles, Dr. Gail R. Soper, of Evanston, Ill., and John Soper, of Hutchinson.