Tag Archives: New Orleans

Fever 1793 and Mosquitoes

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English: Colour print of the yellow fever or d...

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Today’s blog is abook review  but mostly a commentary. I finished reading the book Fever 1793 by Laurie Halsey Anderson, and Lori Earley. It was a totally enjoyable read for me. I give it 5 stars. It is a story of a young girl in Philadelphia in 1793 when Yellow Fever attacked the City.  It is based on a true event where over 30,000 people died of the sickness.  Any time there is Yellow Fever you have water nearby, since the disease is carried by mosquitoes.

You know those flying bloodsucking, always present, insects. I know God put everything on this earth for a reason, but I have yet to figure out why he gave us the mosquito. It might have been to provide activity from scratching those blasted red bumps to slapping arms, legs, face,  and neck.  Actually it’s anyplace that bare skin is showing.  I also know it doesn’t even have to be bare skin. I’ve had them bite me through my clothes. I attract them like a magnet.

There are two types of mosquito that carry the virus that causes yellow fever the Aedes aegypi,  and the tiger mosquite (Aedes alsopictus. I can’t say I know mosquito’s well enough to ID either one of them. The symptoms are nasty. The incubation period is 3 to six days after being bitten. You experience fever, headache, chills, back-pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. It severe cases it causes liver damage and you become jaundice(yellow).  You may bleed from the mouth, eyes, and the GI tract. Luckily the mortality rate is only 20%, but that is a lot of people in a large population. If one survives it they have immunity.

*Yellow fever epidemics struck the United States repeatedly in the 18th and 19th centuries. The disease was not indigenous; epidemics were imported by ship from the Caribbean. Prior to 1822, yellow fever attacked cities as far north as Boston, but after 1822 it was restricted to the south. Port cities were the primary targets, but the disease occasionally spread up the Mississippi River system in the 1800s. New Orleans, Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston were major targets; Memphis suffered terribly in 1878. Yellow fever epidemics caused terror, economic disruption, and some 100,000-150,000 deaths. Recent white immigrants to southern port cities were the most vulnerable; local whites and blacks enjoyed considerable resistance(*NIH.gov).

Yellow fever does not exist in the United States today, but continues to kill thousands of people a year in Africa and parts of South America. One of the last epidemics in the USA was 1896. The epidemic moved across the southern states and my great-grand parents and a child died on the same day.  My book to be published this fall called Dobyns Chronicles is based on this event. Very few families were not affected.

This is abcidarian poem (uses every letter of the alphabet) about the Mosquito.  Enjoy

The Mosquito

Always the sounds are identifiable

Bustling and hustling through the night

Calling out with a loud buzz

Diving, flying, hiding as needed

Endeavoring to survive another day

Finality of life awaits if found

Giving all they have to their life

Hoards huddled together

Indecisive about where to go

Jobbing proboscis anywhere it can

Keen on obtaining their food

Larva they once were but no more

Menacing in their behavior

No one is happy when their around

Open, moist, areas they thrive

Penetrating proboscis through cloth or skin

Quitting only if dead

Reaping the rewards if persistent

Swaying in the air with the wind

Tiny and swift is their fame

Under shelters they will go

Vying for the food supply they need

Willing to go the extra mile

Xeric environments they do not like

Yearning to mate and then pass from life

Zenith of the life