Walter Reed (1851-1902) received his MD from the University of Virginia in 1869 and from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, in 1870. Reed joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1875, experiencing epidemics on the western frontiers. He studied hygiene, sanitation, and bacteriology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital Pathology Laboratory. In 1893 he became Profesor of Bacteriology at George Washington University and the Army Medical School.

In 1896 he demonstrated that yellow fever was not spread by drinking local river-water, thus opening the way for a correct aetiology, and then in 1900, during his service in Cuba Reed demonstrated that the mosquito "Aedes aegypti” functioned as transmission vector for yellow fever". Reed graciously acknowledged the long-standing researches of Cuban physician and epidemiologist Carlos Finlay y de Barres (1833-1915), whose alma mater was Jefferson Medical College. Philadelphia, c.1855, where he was influenced by John Kearsley Mitchell, an early proponent of "Germ Theory of Disease".

The success of Reed and Finlay allowed the renewed U.S. Panama Canal project to proceed from 1904-14, after the earlier French disaster from the tropical disease.

Last modified 3 December 2016