Yellow Fever and its Impact on the Spanish-Cuban-American War

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Disease and war go hand and hand in war. Throughout history, any major military conflict opens a can of worms of disease and death, by moving people to new environments, as well as, cramming them into confined quarters the perfect habitat for human pathogens to prosper. At the turn of the last century Cuba was seeking independence from Spain, which the Spanish resisted by relocating rebel groups. This relocation and increase in density escalated the already problematic yellow fever epidemic. The fear of relocation caused many Cubans to immigrate to the United States, many with yellow fever in tow. While the United States joined the war effort for many reasons, including the prosperity of the sugar industry, the spread of freedom, or the sinking of the Maine, it was the pressing fear of disease that led to an imminent threat to the people of the Gulf Coast. This threat materialized after the US forces landed in Havana and experienced the disease firsthand. In response to the overwhelming number of infected soldiers, the US Government sent a group of Army physicians to undergo a major sanitation effort to clean up Cuba. The work of Walter Reed and the second Yellow Fever Commission through their sanitation efforts led to many advances in the understanding of disease and population health. Starting with the threat of escaping Cuban refugees to the treating of infected Soldiers to the advancement in epidemiology, yellow fever had a major impact on not only the US entrance to the war with Spain, but to the development of modern medicine and the first American Empire.
Yellow fever is a horrible disease for those who begin to show symptoms, and while that number is low, of those who do become ill 50% die; only after having two rounds ...

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...ation and the world.

Works Cited

Collection, Phillip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever. n.d. English translation [from Spanish] of the Informed Consent Agreement for Antonio Benigno, November 26, 1900.
Hamilton, Grant. "The Dangers of Yellow Jack." Los Angeles Times, May 1, 1898.
Medical and Surgical Reporter. "Sanitary Condition of the Panama Canal Laborers." November 12, 1881: 557.
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Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and. Yellow Fever. December 13, 2011.
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The Washington Post. "Free of Yellow Jack." August 29, 1901.
Yellow Fever: A Compilation of Various Publications . Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1911.

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