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Profiles

  • Ann Arnold Phoebe Charlton Taney (c.1783 - 1855)
    The American Catholic Historical Researches ..., Volumes 18-21, p.225 Married Chief Justice Roger Brook Taney on Jan. 7, 1806 at her parent's home in Frederick County, Maryland (also the home of her bi...
  • Pvt Samuel Harry Vermillion, (CSA) (1829 - 1863)
    Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy : Jul 14 2018, 22:01:02 UTC Biography researched and written by Evelyn Park Blalock. Please DO NOT publish elsewhere without providing full and proper credit. ...
  • Brig. Gen. Joseph Adams Potter, (USA) (1816 - 1888)
    Joseph Adams Potter, brevet brigadier-general United States army. Born in the village of Potter's Hollow, Albany county, New York, June 11, 1816. His father, R.H. Potter, was born in New Bedford, Massa...
  • Harriet Marion Potter (1832 - 1867)
    Hattie Savage died in Galveston after she, her husband Brigadier General Joseph Adams Potter, and their 2-year old son Howard contracted yellow fever. Hattie succumbed, while her husband and son survived.
  • Findagrave.com
    Ferdinand Capering Brookman (1817 - 1853)
    Noted as having died of Yellow Fever in his wife's biography; also noted as "Capt." as a distinction for working as much of his family did in the shipping industry.

Please add Geni profiles associated with the disease best known as "yellow fever" to this project. Collaborators, feel free to add sections to the overview.


what it is

Yellow fever, known historically as yellow jack, yellow plague, or bronze john, is an acute viral disease. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of the female mosquito.

Yellow fever is known for bringing on a characteristic yellow tinge to the eyes and skin, and for the terrible “black vomit” caused by bleeding into the stomach. Known today to be spread by infected mosquitoes, yellow fever was long believed to be a miasmatic disease originating in rotting vegetable matter and other putrefying filth, and most believed the fever to be contagious.

A safe and effective vaccine against yellow fever exists and some countries require vaccinations for travelers.

Yellow fever causes 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths every year, with nearly 90% of these occurring in Africa.

The disease originated in Africa, where it spread to South America through the slave trade in the 17th century.

Since the 17th century, several major outbreaks of the disease have occurred in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever was seen as one of the most dangerous infectious diseases.

In 1927 yellow fever virus became the first human virus to be isolated.

Resources

notables

outbreaks

From PBS - The Great Fever

1495 Christopher Columbus and his troops fight the battle of Vega Real in Hispaniola. Many combatants contract a disease that remains unknown.

1643 An illness called the coup de barre (roughly translated as "temporary but extreme fatigue") strikes the Caribbean island Guadeloupe.

1647 An outbreak -- possibly yellow fever -- hits Bridgetown, Barbados, killing scores of people.

1648 The first presumed case of yellow fever is recorded in the Yucatan. Accounts of symptoms and how the disease spread are similar to those of later confirmed outbreaks.

1649 Between May and October, a third of the residents of Havana, Cuba, die from a disease believed to be yellow fever.

1665 A British squadron seizes St. Lucia. Most of the 1,500 troops assigned to the island succumb to yellow fever. Other European colonists of the Caribbean also fall victim to the disease.

1693 Boston becomes the first British colony in North America to face an epidemic of yellow fever. Charleston and Philadelphia soon experience the disease.

1702 New York City loses ten percent of its population to yellow fever.

1737 This summer begins seven consecutive years of yellow fever epidemics in eastern seaports. After 1743, the disease will not return to the region until 1762.

1793 Yellow fever kills an estimated 5,000 people in Philadelphia. Thousands more city residents will die in subsequent outbreaks over the next decade.

1822 Yellow fever is apparently eradicated north of the Mason-Dixon line. Historians credit this breakthrough to improved sanitary conditions. The disease continues, however, to ravage the South.

1833 December 3: Carlos Juan Finlay is born in Cuba.

1851 September 13: Walter Reed is born in Gloucester County, Virginia.

1853 New Orleans, the U.S. city in which yellow fever was most prevalent, suffers its worse exposure to date, with 8,100 official deaths.

1855 After two seamen die of yellow fever during the voyage, the steamship Ben Franklin arrives outside Norfolk, Virginia. The port doctor, unaware of the deaths, allows the ship to dock for repairs. Ten thousand residents fall ill from the disease; two thousand die.

1861-1865 During the Civil War, the Union establishes blockades of southern ports, which reduces trade with the Caribbean and South America. Possibly as a result, yellow fever kills only 436 of the 233,786 Union soldiers who die of disease during the conflict.

1867 Large-scale instances of yellow fever return to New Orleans, costing 3,000 lives.

1873 Between August and November, Shreveport, Louisiana lost one quarter of its population ( or about 2,500 out of 10,000) to the third greatest epidemic of yellow fever to strike the United States. Yellow Fever Mound

1875 July: Army physician George Sternberg, who is later instrumental in establishing the Army's Yellow Fever Board in Cuba, publishes his first medical paper, "An Inquiry into the Modus Operandi of the Yellow Fever Poison," in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal.

1878 After an earlier outbreak in New Orleans, more than half of Memphis' 47,000 residents flee when yellow fever reaches their city.

1879 March 3: Responding to calls for a federal public health agency, Congress establishes the National Board of Health.

1881 August 14: At Havana's Academy of Sciences, Carlos Finlay reads his paper, "The Mosquito Hypothetically Considered as the Transmitting Agent of Yellow Fever." His presentation was met with silence, a precursor to the doubts his theory faced for the next two decades.

1885-1889 In Havana, 7,000 people die from yellow fever.

in Philadelphia

From The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia - 1793

The first major American yellow fever epidemic hit Philadelphia in July 1793 and peaked during the first weeks of October. Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital, was the most cosmopolitan city in the United States. Two thousand free blacks lived there, as well as many recent white French-speaking arrivals from the colony of Santo Domingo, who were fleeing from a slave rebellion. Major Revolutionary political figures lived there, and in the first week of September, Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison that everyone who could escape the city was doing so.

The epidemic depopulated Philadelphia: 5,000 out of a population of 45,000 died, and chronicler Mathew Carey estimated that another 17,000 fled.


in New Orleans

Yellow fever was a feared and deadly scourge. New Orleans was built in a swamp and was home to thousands of open water cisterns, so outbreaks of disease were common. The epidemic of 1853 was by far the most terrifying: In a city of 154,000 people, nearly 8,000 died.

The city experimented with several methods for fighting yellow fever, including trying to purify the air by burning tar in 1853, a strategy The Picayune said should be expanded.

Another method: Firing cannons throughout the city. This tactic was used only once.

A final outbreak in 1905 was the last in the nation.

Five years earlier, Dr. Walter Reed and his colleagues had proved that the illness was spread by mosquitoes. A massive effort aimed at eliminating the breeding of the insects helped end the crisis.

From The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans - 1853

Records show that 7,849 people died in New Orleans in 1853 due to yellow fever. The total between 1817 and 1905 was in excess of 41,000.

As yellow fever was very easy to diagnose (in the latter phases of the sickness at least), these figures exclude other causes of death. Although this year represents the highest single-year figures, death tolls in previous and subsequent years throughout the 19th century often approached the levels of 1853. Studies will also show that the vast majority of victims were of immigrant stock; as yellow fever is a viral infection, previous infection by a less deadly strain would (mostly) serve to inoculate against future infection. For this reason it was mistakenly believed that African-Americans were immune to the infection, while in fact it was simply because they had inhabited the region for generations previously and had also developed immunities.

resources for New Orleans

further reading

jump back to Cause of death portal


this project is in HistoryLink 

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Please add Geni profiles associated with the disease best known as "yellow fever" to this project. Collaborators, feel free to add sections to the overview.

Yellow Fever // Gele koorts \\ Gelbfieber // زرد بخار \\ // Febbre gialla \\ Gul feber // Kollapalavik \\ Fièvre jaune // Sarıhumma \\ மஞ்சள் காய்ச்சல் // \\ Sárgaláz // Sốt vàng \\ Demam kuning // Homa ya manjano \\ 黄热病 // \\ &-cetera.....

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what it is

Yellow fever, known historically as yellow jack, yellow plague, or bronze john, is an acute viral disease. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of the female mosquito.

Yellow fever is known for bringing on a characteristic yellow tinge to the eyes and skin, and for the terrible “black vomit” caused by bleeding into the stomach. Known today to be spread by infected mosquitoes, yellow fever was long believed to be a miasmatic disease originating in rotting vegetable matter and other putrefying filth, and most believed the fever to be contagious.

A safe and effective vaccine against yellow fever exists and some countries require vaccinations for travelers.

Yellow fever causes 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths every year, with nearly 90% of these occurring in Africa.

The disease originated in Africa, where it spread to South America through the slave trade in the 17th century.

Since the 17th century, several major outbreaks of the disease have occurred in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever was seen as one of the most dangerous infectious diseases.

In 1927 yellow fever virus became the first human virus to be isolated.

Resources

notables

outbreaks

From PBS - The Great Fever

1495 Christopher Columbus and his troops fight the battle of Vega Real in Hispaniola. Many combatants contract a disease that remains unknown.

1643 An illness called the coup de barre (roughly translated as "temporary but extreme fatigue") strikes the Caribbean island Guadeloupe.

1647 An outbreak -- possibly yellow fever -- hits Bridgetown, Barbados, killing scores of people.

1648 The first presumed case of yellow fever is recorded in the Yucatan. Accounts of symptoms and how the disease spread are similar to those of later confirmed outbreaks.

1649 Between May and October, a third of the residents of Havana, Cuba, die from a disease believed to be yellow fever.

1665 A British squadron seizes St. Lucia. Most of the 1,500 troops assigned to the island succumb to yellow fever. Other European colonists of the Caribbean also fall victim to the disease.

1693 Boston becomes the first British colony in North America to face an epidemic of yellow fever. Charleston and Philadelphia soon experience the disease.

1702 New York City loses ten percent of its population to yellow fever.

1737 This summer begins seven consecutive years of yellow fever epidemics in eastern seaports. After 1743, the disease will not return to the region until 1762.

1793 Yellow fever kills an estimated 5,000 people in Philadelphia. Thousands more city residents will die in subsequent outbreaks over the next decade.

1822 Yellow fever is apparently eradicated north of the Mason-Dixon line. Historians credit this breakthrough to improved sanitary conditions. The disease continues, however, to ravage the South.

1833 December 3: Carlos Juan Finlay is born in Cuba.

1851 September 13: Walter Reed is born in Gloucester County, Virginia.

1853 New Orleans, the U.S. city in which yellow fever was most prevalent, suffers its worse exposure to date, with 8,100 official deaths.

1855 After two seamen die of yellow fever during the voyage, the steamship Ben Franklin arrives outside Norfolk, Virginia. The port doctor, unaware of the deaths, allows the ship to dock for repairs. Ten thousand residents fall ill from the disease; two thousand die.

1861-1865 During the Civil War, the Union establishes blockades of southern ports, which reduces trade with the Caribbean and South America. Possibly as a result, yellow fever kills only 436 of the 233,786 Union soldiers who die of disease during the conflict.

1867 Large-scale instances of yellow fever return to New Orleans, costing 3,000 lives.

1875 July: Army physician George Sternberg, who is later instrumental in establishing the Army's Yellow Fever Board in Cuba, publishes his first medical paper, "An Inquiry into the Modus Operandi of the Yellow Fever Poison," in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal.

1878 After an earlier outbreak in New Orleans, more than half of Memphis' 47,000 residents flee when yellow fever reaches their city.

1879 March 3: Responding to calls for a federal public health agency, Congress establishes the National Board of Health.

1881 August 14: At Havana's Academy of Sciences, Carlos Finlay reads his paper, "The Mosquito Hypothetically Considered as the Transmitting Agent of Yellow Fever." His presentation was met with silence, a precursor to the doubts his theory faced for the next two decades.

1885-1889 In Havana, 7,000 people die from yellow fever.

in Philadelphia

From The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia - 1793

The first major American yellow fever epidemic hit Philadelphia in July 1793 and peaked during the first weeks of October. Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital, was the most cosmopolitan city in the United States. Two thousand free blacks lived there, as well as many recent white French-speaking arrivals from the colony of Santo Domingo, who were fleeing from a slave rebellion. Major Revolutionary political figures lived there, and in the first week of September, Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison that everyone who could escape the city was doing so.

The epidemic depopulated Philadelphia: 5,000 out of a population of 45,000 died, and chronicler Mathew Carey estimated that another 17,000 fled.


in New Orleans

Yellow fever was a feared and deadly scourge. New Orleans was built in a swamp and was home to thousands of open water cisterns, so outbreaks of disease were common. The epidemic of 1853 was by far the most terrifying: In a city of 154,000 people, nearly 8,000 died.

The city experimented with several methods for fighting yellow fever, including trying to purify the air by burning tar in 1853, a strategy The Picayune said should be expanded.

Another method: Firing cannons throughout the city. This tactic was used only once.

A final outbreak in 1905 was the last in the nation.

Five years earlier, Dr. Walter Reed and his colleagues had proved that the illness was spread by mosquitoes. A massive effort aimed at eliminating the breeding of the insects helped end the crisis.

From The Yellow Fever Epidemic in New Orleans - 1853

Records show that 7,849 people died in New Orleans in 1853 due to yellow fever. The total between 1817 and 1905 was in excess of 41,000.

As yellow fever was very easy to diagnose (in the latter phases of the sickness at least), these figures exclude other causes of death. Although this year represents the highest single-year figures, death tolls in previous and subsequent years throughout the 19th century often approached the levels of 1853. Studies will also show that the vast majority of victims were of immigrant stock; as yellow fever is a viral infection, previous infection by a less deadly strain would (mostly) serve to inoculate against future infection. For this reason it was mistakenly believed that African-Americans were immune to the infection, while in fact it was simply because they had inhabited the region for generations previously and had also developed immunities.

resources for New Orleans

further reading