Yellow Fever In America

1600 Words7 Pages
Have you ever heard of the famous “yellow fever” disease? If you were born right here in North America, you’ve probably never heard of it. Personally, in all my nineteen years I’ve only encountered the name a couple of times but never enough to care very much about it. This is because yellow fever primarily resides outside of North America, where there are harsh environments and extreme changes in social status. Places such as South America and Africa are frequently attacked by diseases, leaving people crippled from loss of strength and eventually even stealing their lives. Wealth is not always prevalent in these areas, making it much more difficult for these people to purchase vaccines and cures. Because of this, there’s almost an unspoken…show more content…
Eventually the project was completed by the Americans in 1913, but clearly not without casualties (Crawford, 2011). So what exactly is a virus? To be clear, viruses are not cells but particles. They consist of a protein coat that surrounds and protects their genetic material. Viruses essentially remain inert until they infect a living cell. Once inside, the virus basically hijacks the cells living organelles and masquerades itself as pieces of cellular DNA. From there, DNA code is transcribed into RNA messages which are translated into individual viral proteins. Then the virus components are assembled into thousands of new viruses (Crawford, 2011). Thus infecting the host and becoming the cause of many life threatening diseases. I’ve chosen yellow fever as my research topic for several reasons. Many people are unaware of its existence, several countries occasionally struggle to combat it, and it’s an old but fascinating viral…show more content…
Jim Murphy describes this scene perfectly in his book “An American Plague” published in 2003. Murphy explains how this disease miraculously entered the U.S. and stuck the great city of Philadelphia without notice in 1793 (Murphy, 2003). Yellow fever, being a virus that cannot spread through people who have already recovered from the infection, could easily have spread through breeding on top of a ships water barrels and eventually moved inland (Crawford, 2011). Eventually yellow fever was successfully combated, and supposedly driven out of the U.S. Regardless, yellow fever does exist as a small portion of America’s history and has even survived in remote areas of Oklahoma. Its name is derived from the word Jaundice, which means the yellowing of skin. This even includes the yellowing of the whiteness of the eyes. Concerning diseases, yellow fever belongs to the flavivirus family, meaning that it’s commonly associated with RNA viruses that cause multiple diseases. The genome of these family viruses can be described as single stranded, positive, and RNA sensitive, which are most commonly found in anthropods. Yellow fever is also an acute viral hemorrhaging disease. Meaning that it eventually could lead to internal hemorrhages or bleeding (Flaviviruses, 2010). Already we see

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