Walter Reed

Helped discover that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever

Stay Away From Mosquitoes!

Walter Reed was an army surgeon and medical researcher who helped discover that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever, an infectious, sometimes fatal disease. During his career, Reed made contributions towards gaining control over Malaria and Typhoid.
  • Used humans as test subjects for his yellow fever work
  • Saved thousands of lives
In honor of Walter Reeds efforts to control epidemics, the Army General Hospital in Washington, D.C. was named after Reed. Walter entered the University of Virginia at the age 15 and a year later he took medical courses. Later on he received a medical degree of the year1869.
  • Traveled to New York to pursue additional medical studies at Bellevue Hospital. He earned a second medical degree in 1870
  • In June of 1874, Reed received commission as an assistant surgeon, and became a first Lieutenant with the U.S. Army Medical Corps and moved to Arizona
He took brief clinical courses at John Hopkins Hospital and met William Henry Welch who is a pathologist who had opened the first pathology laboratory in the U.S.
  • Reed took advantage of his qualifications, and was appointed chair aboard investigating Typhoid outbreaks in army camps
Sanarelli thought that the Bacillus or rod shaped bacterium was transmitted by contaminated water but Typhoid board found it had been passed by flies and contact with infected feces.
  • Reed and American army physician James Carroll were assigned to investigate Sanarelli's claim and they disapproved it
  • Reed would test people, give consent, and paid them $100 plus another $100 if they contracted the disease
  • The mosquitoes were unable to transmit the disease for two weeks but could remain infectious for up two months in a warm climate
The vaccinations against the disease were not developed until the 1920's and Harvard University awarded him an honorary masters degree for his work with the yellow fever board.

Work Cited

  • "The U.S. Army Commission Experiments - Walter Reed: The Yellow Fever Collection." Walter Reed The Yellow Fever Collection. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
  • "Walter Reed and Yellow Fever - Screening for Health: Insects & Disease Prevention." Screening for Health Insects Disease Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
  • "Walter Reed." World of Biology. Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.