Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is rare today in the United States and has been controlled in much of the world. However, this viral disease was once a major scourge, making many tropical and subtropical areas in the Americas virtually uninhabitable, with epidemics even reaching New York City. In 1793, Philadelphia (then the largest U.S. city, with 40,000 people) suffered nearly 5000 deaths, and 40% of the population evacuated the city. Victims suffer a high fever and jaundice (turn yellow) from infection of the liver. Most people considered yellow fever contagious, but finally in 1900 a team led by Walter Reed demonstrated that it was transmitted by mosquitoes. Disease incidence has been greatly reduced by control of this vector, and more recently by the development of a vaccine.

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