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The original item was published from 6/15/2017 1:21:00 PM to 6/27/2017 12:00:01 AM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: May 23, 2017

[ARCHIVED] The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1855 - June 21, noon-1 pm

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In the summer of 1855, yellow fever stuck the populations of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia imported by the SS Benjamin Franklin imported the pathogen from the Danish West Indies. As thousands of residents fled, hundreds of volunteers from across the country arrived to fight the fever. Physicians advanced various theories as to the origins, causes, and cures involving the disease. However, nothing stopped the fever from consuming more than 3,000 lives; more than ten percent of the populations of both cities.

During the crisis the village of Hampton and its environs became a point of refuge.  Learn what role Fort Monroe, Hampton and Old Point Comfort may have played in the pestilential tragedy and what other dramatic events unfolded.

It would not be until the close of the nineteenth century, that a U.S. Army medical team in Cuba led by Virginia-born Major Walter Reed, MD determined that the blood-seeking Aedes aeygypti mosquito vectored the virus from person to person. So by curbing the mosquito population, public health officials could keep the disease in check.

The presenter will be Benjamin H. Trask, a history teacher and the author of Fearful Ravages: Yellow Fever and New Orleans, 1796-1905 (2005). He has also written a half dozen articles related to the disease. Trask holds graduate degrees from Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

This program is free and open to the public.

Bring a bag lunch--we’ll have free dessert for you!

For more information call 757-727-1102.

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