Walter Reed

by: Mariah Lucero

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Walter Reed was born September 13, 1851 in Belroi, Virginia. His father, Lemuel Reed, was a Methodist minister, and his mother's name was Pharaba White. Reed was the youngest of the five children. In 1865 Reed began 2 yrs of study and went to the University of Virginia under the works of William R. Abbot. He then traveled to New York to study medical at Bellevue hospital. At age 15 he took a medical course, and earned his first medical degree in 1869, and then his second in 1870. However, the second wasn't official until 1872. Until 1874 Reed worked as a Physician for kids and then was district Physician for New York Department of Public charities. In June of 1874 he became an assistant surgeon for the Army.In the 1890s Walter took interest in Pathology, the Army however did not teach courses that went along with this field. Reed wanted to take a leave of absence to pursue his studies but was denied and moved to Baltimore to be the surgeon there. During this time Reed took a brief clinical course at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1896 when a malaria epidemic broke out and Reed figured out it was not caused my drinking water. During the Spanish-American War he was in charge of investigating typhoid outbreaks in the army camps. He is famously known for his work with Yellow Fever epidemic. Later he was awarded honorary masters degree from Harvard University for his work with Yellow Fever board. He died November 23,1902.

What He Studied

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Yellow Fever Epidemic

-1900 Reed was selected to be part of a board to try to figure out the cause of yellow fever

-Reed and the board investigated in U.S garrison at Havana

-Malaria disease was in barracks 200 miles from Havana, Reed found that it was actually Yellow fever.

-Only one of the nine prisoners had the disease.

-The members of the commission (including Reed) believed the prisoner was bitten by some insect.

-Reed decided the main work would be to find out if it was spread by an insect intermediate host

-August 27, 1900 an infected mosquito was allowed to feed on Carroll one of the commissioners

-He developed yellow fever, was ill, but recovered

-Lazear another member of the team was bitten and died after developing the disease.

-November of 1900 controlled experiments were performed on volunteers

-Reed proved an attack of yellow fever was caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito

-A vaccination was not made for yellow fever in early 1900's, but there was mosquito control especially in Cuba.

- Thesefindings helped find a way to make a vaccination

Smaller findings

Walter Reed was mainly a surgeon that worked with the Army. At first he was an assistant then was promoted to a full surgeon. Later in life he became interested in Pathology and took courses regarding pathology while being a surgeon in the Army. Pathology is the science of the causes and effects of diseases.


-An outbreak of Malaria broke out in 1896 in Fort Myer, Virginia

-Reed proved that contaminated drinking water wasn't causing the epidemic

- He figured this out by making connections like where the infected areas got their water. -He also found it was infecting enlisted men because they traveled the city through a swamp trail. In conclusion, Walter Reed discovered Malaria was caused by "Bad Air".

Typhoid Outbreak

-1898 during the Spanish- America war Reed was to chair a board investigating typhoid outbreaks

-The outbreaks were happening in Cuba

-The bacillus of the typhoid bacteria was believed to be spread by contaminated water

-The board found it was spread by flies and contact with infected feces.

-The importance of the findings of this investigation is it is a model for epidemiologists

Works Cited

"Walter Reed." World of Biology. Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.

"Walter Reed." Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.