Yellow Fever: A Deadly Disease Poised to Kill Again

James L. Dickerson, Author . Prometheus $25 (271p) ISBN 978-1-59102-399-9

If you're tired of worrying about avian flu, Dickerson's history could start you worrying about a recurrence of yellow fever, long eradicated from the U.S. This is a well-written history of the yellow fever epidemics that ravaged Philadelphia, New Orleans and other locales from the late 1700s through the 19th century. Dickerson (Mojo Triangle: Birthplace of Country, Blues, Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll ) vividly describes the panic that spread through Philadelphia in 1793, when 4,000 people died from a disease of unknown origin marked by high fever, black vomiting and coma. As interesting as the medical tale are the social aspects, such as the role of the city's blacks, who believed they were immune to yellow fever, in treating its victims. It was not until 1881 that Juan Carlos Finlay, a Cuban doctor, correctly concluded that the disease was spread by infected mosquitoes. His work was validated by Dr. Walter Reed and others during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and paved the way for preventive measures. Dickerson suggests that yellow fever is a prime candidate for use as a biological weapon, and he considers disturbing evidence that global warming could bring a resurgence of the virus in North America. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 271 pages - 978-1-61592-459-2
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