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August 11, 1993

Yellow Fever and Public Health in the New South

Author Affiliations

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

JAMA. 1993;270(6):766. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510060112045

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Yellow Fever and the South, by Margaret Humphreys, 226 pp, $45, ISBN 0-8135-1820-2, New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press, 1992.

In the last half of the 19th century, epidemics of yellow fever wreaked havoc in both coastal and inland cities of the Southern states. Because of the large numbers of people with the disease and the high mortality rate, those who could afford to packed up and left their homes, while businesses and commerce between many ports ceased. Throughout this era, Southern physicians desperately tried to understand the nature of the disease, find appropriate remedies, and, along with educated laypersons, sought to develop and implement effective preventive measures that could eliminate or at least minimize the threat of annual warm weather visitations of yellow fever.

The sheer volume of articles and reports in Southern medical journals testifies to the intensity of concern produced by this one disease. Similarly, the contemporary