Diagnosing Yellow Fever

He proposed an unprecedented, radical theory, which was greeted with great skepticism by the leading medical and scientific authorities of the time. But Carlos Juan Finlay, a physician and epidemiologist born in Camaguey, Cuba, in 1833, persisted in his research.  Finlay’s father was Scottish and his mother was French. He was educated in France, Philadelphia, and Havana, and traveled throughout South America and Europe. His unprecedented theory proposed that deadly yellow fever was spread by a specific mosquito type. His research was rejected by the scientific community for over two decades. US medical pioneer Walter Reed confirmed Finlay’s work in 1901, and the eradication of this mosquito dramatically reduced the death toll in the Caribbean and among the workforce of the Panama Canal.