WASHINGTON — Martin S. Wolfe, a tropical disease specialist who founded one of the country’s first medical practices devoted to ailments incurred in travel and who, in the 1970s, accompanied Henry Kissinger as his personal physician, died June 15 at his home on Block Island, R.I. He was 82.
The cause was a failure of his artificial heart pump, said his son, David of Bethesda, Md.
Dr. Wolfe developed an interest in tropical diseases as a medical student and, early in his career, spent five years doing field research in Ghana and Pakistan. As a staff medical officer for the State Department, he traveled the world with Kissinger, the then-secretary of state. He also served as a tropical medicine expert for the World Bank.
In 1980, he opened Traveler’s Medical Service, believed to be the first medical office of its kind in Washington. He also had an affiliated parasitology laboratory and a private practice. Dr. Wolfe advised people making overseas trips about potential health risks and administered immunizations. If travelers returned with mysterious ailments, he often had to become a medical detective.
He determined a diagnosis by retracing a patient’s journeys to pinpoint where exposure to various maladies might have occurred. Dr. Wolfe often consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about infectious diseases found in other parts of the world but rarely seen in the United States, such as malaria, cholera, and yellow fever.
He wrote more than 100 academic papers and textbook chapters about tropical medicine and travel medicine.
Besides his son, David, he leaves his wife of 55 years, Lotte Brunes Wolfe; two other children, Rebecca Wolfe Acosta and Miriam Strouse ; a sister; and seven grandchildren.