Yellow Jack

Yellow Jack

How Yellow Fever Ravaged America and Walter Reed Discovered Its Deadly Secrets

Book - 2005
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WILEY
The end of a scourge

"The prayer that has been mine for twenty years, that I might be permitted in some way or some time to do something to alleviate human suffering, has been answered!"
--Major Walter Reed, writing to his wife, New Year's Eve, 1900

As he wrote to his wife of his stunning success in the mission to identify the cause of yellow fever and find a way to eradicate the disease, Walter Reed had answered the prayers of millions. For more than 250 years, the yellow jack had ravaged the Americas, bringing death to millions and striking panic in entire populations. The very mention of its presence in a city or town produced instant chaos as thousands fled in terror, leaving the frail, the weak, and the ill to fend for themselves.

Yellow Jack tracks the history of this deadly scourge from its earliest appearance in the Caribbean 350 years ago, telling the compelling story of a few extraordinarily brave souls who struggled to understand and eradicate yellow fever. Risking everything for the cause of science and humanity, Reed and his teammates on the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Board invaded the heart of enemy territory in Cuba to pursue the disease--and made one of the twentieth century's greatest medical discoveries. This thrilling adventure tells the timeless tale of their courage, ingenuity, and triumph in the face of adversity.

Baker & Taylor
A real-life story of medical history, research, and heroism describes the efforts of Major Walter Reed and a team of Army doctors to investigate the causes of yellow fever, a deadly disease that had long ravaged the southeastern United States and Caribbean and their seminal discovery that mosquitoes were the mode of transmission.

Book News
Yellow fever made its first appearance in the Caribbean 350 years ago and ravaged the Americas for 250 years. This account follows the four- member US Army Yellow Fever Board, led by US Army major and physician Walter Reed, as they overturned leading theories of the day on the cause, spread, and control of yellow fever. B&w historical photos are included. The authors have written for various military publications. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Explores the work of the United States Army Yellow Fever Board, led by Walter Reed, in studying the cause, spread, and control of yellow fever.

Publisher: Hoboken, NJ : J. Wiley, [2005]
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9780471472612
0471472611
Branch Call Number: 614.541 REED PIERC
Characteristics: ix, 278 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Writer, Jim 1958-

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nftaussig Nov 23, 2011

This well-researched book by John R. Pierce, a physician retired from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Jim Writer describes the history of yellow fever epidemics in the United States, the research of the United States Army Yellow Fever Board team led by Walter Reed that traced the source of the disease, the use of this research to eradicate yellow fever in much of the Americas, and the subsequent research that enabled Max Theiler to develop a vaccine against the disease. They begin with a detailed description of the symptoms of the disease that helps the reader understand why yellow fever was so dangerous. Next, the authors describe how yellow fever is believed to have been carried to the Americas from Africa through the slave trade and the devastating epidemics that resulted from its contact with an immunologically naive population. While the descriptions of these outbreaks give the reader a sense of how deadly they were and why yellow fever impeded commerce in the South, they lack the firsthand witness accounts found in James L. Dickerson's book Yellow Fever that give the reader a sense of what it was like to live through a yellow fever epidemic. However, the authors' descriptions of these epidemics and the yellow fever epidemic in Cuba that killed so many American soldiers during the Spanish-American War make the reader understand why it was so important to the government of the United States to find the cause of yellow fever. The authors devote several detailed chapters to the work of the U. S. Army Yellow Fever Board team led by Walter Reed that traced the transmission of the disease to a mosquito vector and the way this research was used to eradicate yellow fever in Havana and the Panama Canal zone. These chapters form the core of the book and are done quite well. Unlike Dickerson or Molly Caldwell Crosby in her book The American Plague, the authors describe the research that led to the yellow fever vaccine developed by Max Theiler. I felt that the authors should have given a more detailed description of this research, but at least it is there. Another flaw of the book is that the authors use the word theory when they are describing a scientific hypothesis, which could mislead lay readers. That said, of the three yellow fever books I have read, this is the one I recommend since it gives the most complete description of the disease, its history, and the research that led to its eradication from much of the Americas.

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nftaussig Nov 23, 2011

nftaussig thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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nftaussig Nov 23, 2011

John R. Pierce, a physician retired from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Jim Writer describe the history of yellow fever epidemics in the United States and the research that led to the eradication of yellow fever in much of the world. After briefly outlining what they plan to discuss, the authors describe the symptoms of yellow fever, its mode of transmission, and the areas in which it is endemic. Then they describe how the disease is believed to have traveled from Africa to the United States through the slave trade. This leads to a discussion of outbreaks in the United States, starting with a detailed discussion of the 1793 epidemic in Philadelphia, then the capital of the United States. They also describe how the disease ravaged the American South, particularly the 1878 epidemic that killed 20,000 people. Their discussion of the yellow fever outbreak that accounted for the majority of American deaths during the Spanish-American War leads to the central focus of the book, the efforts of the United States Army Yellow Fever Board team led by Walter Reed to trace the cause of yellow fever. The authors devote several chapters to this discussion and how the research conducted by Reed's team led to measures that largely eliminated yellow fever from Havana and the Panama Canal zone. They conclude by describing the subsequent research that led to Max Theiler's discovery of a vaccine for yellow fever, while explaining why it is not possible to eradicate the disease.

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