#howtotuesday: Prevent Yellow Fever
Above: sanitary map of the city of New Orleans
Yellow Fever, sometimes called Yellow Jack or Yellow Plague, is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. Most cases of Yellow Fever cause mild symptoms including fever, headache, and chills; however, approximately 15% of cases develop into toxic, severe stages of recurring fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) due to liver damage, abdominal pain, vomiting, and internal bleeding.
The city of New Orleans was plagued by several epidemics of Yellow Fever during the 19th century, the most deadly in 1853. Sadly, in a single year, 7,849 residents of New Orleans (population: 154,000) succumbed to the illness.
The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853 led to further study of the viral disease and publication of The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America, a text investigating “the origin and mode of transmission of the great epidemic of last year, together with all causes affecting the salubrity of the city.”
The publication includes eight foldouts, each employing a map or chart to illustrate data.
Above: chart exhibiting the annual mortality of New Orleans
Local researchers conducted many experiments in an attempt to control the epidemic, including but not limited to, purifying the air by burning tar and firing canons throughout the city (a method only employed once). After identifying mosquitoes as the transmitters of Yellow Fever, efforts were launched to control the breeding of insects, particularly through extensive sanitation–an endeavor largely responsible for ending the crisis.
Interested in learning more about the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853? Visit us in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday, 9:00-12:00 where The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America and additional texts (like this one) are available for viewing!
I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday weekend (and don’t forget to wear a bit of bug spray)!
Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.