After receiving a medical degree from the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, Walter Reed went to work for the boards of health of New York City and Brooklyn. In 1875, Reed joined the Army Medical Corps and served as an Army surgeon for more than 20 years. When in 1900, yellow fever broke out among U.S. troops in Cuba, he headed the commission of physicians who established that yellow fever was transmitted by the Aλdes aegypti mosquito. Later he proved that a virus carried by the mosquito caused the disease. Sanitary engineers were sent to eradicate the mosquito, resulting in Cuba being free of yellow fever by 1902. Reed, who was born on this date in 1851, died of appendicitis in 1902. The Army hospital and medical center in Washington, D.C., is named in his honor.
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