The mosquito Aedes Aegypti, which transmits the Zika virus and yellow fever, is an old enemy that wasn’t discovered until 1900.
During the Spanish American War, the U.S. had 250 men killed in combat and 2,803 from disease in Cuba.
A medical team under Dr. Walter Reed was sent to Cuba, but having failed to control the epidemic, Dr. Reed tried the work of Cuban doctor Juan Carlos Finlay, who had published experimental evidence of the Aedes Aegypti transmitting yellow fever, which had been ignored and ridiculed.
Upon validation of Finlay’s discovery, Dr. Reed took the fight to breeding grounds covering all stagnant bodies of water with a layer of oil and ordered the population to oil or screen barrels of water for drinking. Reported new cases had homes sealed and fumigated.
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The following year, only 20 people died of yellow fever. Some 115 years later, the U.S. can contain the Zika epidemic by eradicating the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Unfortunately, Dr. Finlay, who saved millions of lives, was never awarded a Nobel Prize.
Bernie de la Paz, Miami