This day in history: Yellow fever comes ashore in New Orleans on July 12, 1878

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

I’ll never look at a mosquito the same way again after reading about the yellow fever epidemic of 1878.  As much as I would like to, I can’t blame the epidemic solely on the mosquitoes because sailors brought yellow fever in from the Caribbean to the Unite States.  The first confirmed death of yellow fever in New Orleans happened on July 12, 1878 when a four-year-old girl died.  Upon hearing of her death, 20% of the town fled carrying the disease with them, despite quarantine and armed barricades.  The disease spread north along the Mississippi River.  In the end the New Orleans death toll was at a minimum of 4,600.  The total deaths in the Mississippi Valley were 20,000.

Further Reading

Symptoms of yellow fever

“The Great Fever” -PBS

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think the fleeing citizens who carried yellow fever should be charged with murder?

Do you think anyone, regardless of whether or not they are sick, should be arrested for breaking quarantine?


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