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It is hoped that readers of this column have a wide range of historical interest. Today’s article deals with the Yellow Fever epidemic which is often compared to the Bubonic Plague which was so deathly in Medieval Europe.

Yellow Fever was introduced into the United States in the 1790’s along the eastern seaboard in ports such as Philadelphia and New York by sailors from ships that had come through the port in Haiti. Philadelphia was especially hard hit with the loss of life to almost one fourth of its population. Some historians contribute Yellow Fever to causing Philadelphia to fall behind in growth and never realizing its potential as a city that it should have been.

The first epidemic of Yellow Fever in Louisiana was in 1796 when 638 people out of a population of 8756 died from the disease. It assaulted New Orleans for 67 summers and was referred to as the “Stranger’s Disease” or the “Saffron Scourge”. The worst epidemic years were from 1847 to 1858. Death from this horrible disease was one of the most horrible deaths. It was characterized causing a yellow color to the victims skin as the liver shut down then by vomiting and when the victims vomit became black then death was near.

 

 

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