The American Plague Summary/Response

Topics: Yellow fever, Spanish–American War, Malaria Pages: 3 (1140 words) Published: September 27, 2012
The American Plague
The American Plague was written by Molly C. Crosby, who is as much as a researcher as she is an author. In 1648, a slave ship returning from Africa carried a few mosquitoes infected with a deadly virus know as yellow fever. The ship landed in the New World and thrived in the hot wet climate and on the white settlers. The New World has never come in contact with yellow fever and as a result no immunities have been built up. The virus obtained its name from the way it turns the victim’s skin and eyes a golden yellow. Victims also suffer from very high fevers, external and internal bleeding, and blackish vomit. In America yellow fever killed thousands of peoples, halted trade, and disrupted the government. Although many cities were affected by yellow fever, none were hindered more than the Tennessee city, Memphis. Before yellow fever made its way into Memphis, it was the largest city in Tennessee. When the virus hit thousands of citizens fled in a mass exodus and the 19,000 that stayed 16,000 and over a quarter of those died. The city revoked its own charter and was almost completely destroyed until a sewage system was established. Once The U.S. Government realized how devastating yellow fever was, they appointed a team of doctors and scientists to research and conquer the virus. The team went to Cuba where yellow fever was very common. Walter Reed was among this group and was the driving force to eradicating yellow fever. He and all but one of the team died of yellow fever but they yielded high results. Eventually a vaccine was created but it would cost too much to vaccinate everyone and at the time that wouldn’t have been possible to vaccine a huge number of people. Instead, great efforts were put into removing mosquitoes and their breeding grounds which would prove to be super effective. Throughout the book I learned many things and thought deeply about certain quotes. The American Plague was a very interesting book with abundant...
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