Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Yellow Fever Epidemic Of 1793

Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

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The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 is believed to have killed several thousand people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.


The summer of 1793 had been a profitable one for the port city of Philadelphia, experiencing a rising demand for tobacco and sugarcane. The on-going Haitian Revolution forced many French refugees to flee, and many of them landed in Philadelphia. However, the citizens of the city didn't know that some of the refugees were suffering from yellow fever,

A source of contention in the Philadelphia College of Physicians was Dr. Benjamin Rush's claim to having found a cure. Doctors of the time believed in vis medicatrix naturae, "the healing power of nature."Murphy, An American Plague, pp. 59. This was the belief that the body would in its own due course rid itself of any illness or poisons and that it was the doctor's job simply to help this natural process along. Rush saw that nothing was coming from this practice and decided more drastic measures needed to be taken. He tried many treatments (with no results) that included: administering shaved tree bark with wine, brandy, and aromatics such as ginger or...
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