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A Possible Connection between the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Southern United States and the 1877-78 El Nin??o Episode

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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Abstract

One of the most severe outbreaks of yellow fever, a viral disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, affected the southern United States in the summer of 1878. The economic and human toll was enormous, and the city of Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the most affected. The authors suggest that as a consequence of one of the strongest El Nin??o episodes on record - that which occurred in 1877-78 - exceptional climate anomalies occurred in the United States (as well as in many other parts of the world), which may have been partly responsible for the widespread nature and severity of the 1878 yellow fever outbreak. This study documents some of the extreme climate anomalies that were recorded in 1877 and 1878 in parts of the eastern United States, with particular emphasis on highlighting the evolution of these anomalies, as they might have contributed to the epidemic. Other years with major outbreaks of yellow fever in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also occurred during the course of El Nin??o episodes, a fact that appears not to have been noted before in the literature.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
A Possible Connection between the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Southern United States and the 1877-78 El Nin??o Episode
Series title:
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Volume
80
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
First page:
21
Last page:
27
Number of Pages:
7