Overview of the Plague
In 1973 the Yellow fever epidemic hit Philadelphia and 100 people died on the day, by the end of the plague more than 5,000 people were killed. This is a viral disease that starts with a fever and muscle pains, the victims would them become jaundice as their kidneys started to fail. The victims would also have internal bleeding and thus was the cause of their bloody vomiting.
The first outbreak of yellow fever was recorded in the US in the late 1690’s, a 100 years later refugees from the Caribbean brought the plague back to Philadelphia. Less than a month later people were dying every day from the plague, it was so bad that the local government had collapsed. When the winter hit Philadelphia most of the mosquito’s carrying the plague had died and the death toll dropped. In today’s life we can get vaccine to prevent us from getting the plague, yet we still have over 20,000 people dying every year from it.
The Return of Yellow fever
The plague died and death tolls went down, but almost 300 years later it came back to Philadelphia in 1793. As it was summer the plague spread fast with the mosquito’s causing a panic and having those who can had to flee, from those who remained almost 5,000 lost their lives to the Yellow fever. Most of the surrounding countries had denied access to the people as they were scared the infection would come with them. Thus les thousands of people homeless and helpless. Most of the nurses and helping aid staff consisted out of blacks, as they believed that they were immune to the fever.
The latest return of the plague caused a world debate over the cause of the plague and how they can best control Yellow fever. One of the best doctors were stating that the plague was caused and transferred by nature and that they could not control it directly. The best solution they could find was to enforce deep quarantine and sanitary regulations in the infected areas.
Three main Types
1. Sylvatic Yellow Fever
This is also known as the “jungle yellow fever”, this is spread when the mosquito bites a monkey and then gets transmitted to a human.
2. Intermediate Yellow Fever
This types of yellow fever is more common is Africa, this is transmitted from a semi-domestic mosquito to a human.
3. Urban Yellow Fever
This type of yellow fever is when the fever is transmitted directly from a mosquito to a human, not via a monkey.
Albert Bushnell, American History Told by Contemporaries
The American Plague: the Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby
Bring out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793 by J.H Powell
The Landscape of Disease: Swamp and Medical Discourse in the American Southeast, 1800-1880 by Nelson, Megan Kate