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July 27, 1964

STUBBINS H. FFIRTH (1784-1820)

JAMA. 1964;189(4):319-320. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070040069020

The contributions of Stubbins H. Ffirth to the pathogenesis of yellow fever more than a century and a half ago are exemplary. Stubbins was born in Salem, NJ, and conducted experiments on the epidemiology of yellow fever while pursuing his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania. The critical events in the thesis entitled, A Treatise on Malignant Fever; with an Attempt to Prove Its Non-Contagious Nature, were presented for graduation in 1804.1 Ffirth described his inability to transmit yellow fever to animals or to himself through injection, ingestion, inhalation, or subcutaneous instillation of excreta from the afflicted. The dissertation is introduced by a chronological history of malignant fever in North America, and complements the investigations of Cathrall on dogs, cats, and fowl also carried out in Philadelphia a few years earlier. The studies by Ffirth were designed to discover the nature, properties, and qualities of the black vomit