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March 4, 1983

Deaths Associated With Yellow Fever Experiments

Author Affiliations

Bremen, West Germany

JAMA. 1983;249(9):1150-1151. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330330032021

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To the Editor.—  I would like to add a correcting comment to the article "The Death of Walter Reed." The authors mention Reed's experiments with volunteers to demonstrate the transmission of yellow fever by the vector mosquito Aedes aegypti. They make the statement that "none of these volunteers died." In fact, at least two "medical heroes" who were inoculated as volunteers with the bite of an infected mosquito died as consequence of yellow fever. James William Lazear was the first (Havana, 1900). He was a member of the American Medical Commission in Havana (with Walter Reed and James Carroll). It is not clear if Walter Reed or Gorgas inducted him for the experiment or if he did it only by his own initiative. The second person, who was paid $100 by the Army as a volunteer permitting to be bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito in 1901, was Clara Louise