18 Facts About Walter Reed


Walter Reed was a US Army physician who in 1901 led the team that confirmed the theory of Cuban doctor Carlos Finlay that yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species rather than by direct contact.


Walter Reed was born in Belroi, Virginia, to Lemuel Sutton Reed and his first wife, Pharaba White, the fifth child born to the couple.


In December 1866, Rev Reed remarried, to Mrs Mary C Byrd Kyle of Harrisonburg, Virginia, with whom he had a daughter.


Walter Reed married Emily Blackwell Lawrence of North Carolina on April 26,1876 and took her West with him.


Walter Reed noticed the devastation epidemics could wreak and maintained his concerns about sanitary conditions.


Walter Reed wanted to amputate Sandoz's foot, but Sandoz refused his consent, and Walter Reed succeeded in saving the foot by an extensive course of treatment.


In 1893, Walter Reed joined the faculty of the George Washington University School of Medicine and the newly opened Army Medical School in Washington, DC, where he held the professorship of Bacteriology and Clinical Microscopy.

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In 1896, Walter Reed first distinguished himself as a medical investigator.


Walter Reed proved that yellow fever among enlisted men stationed near the Potomac River was not a result of drinking the river water.


Walter Reed showed officials that the enlisted men who got yellow fever had a habit of taking trails through the local swampy woods at night.


Walter Reed proved that the local civilians drinking from the Potomac River had no relation to the incidence of the disease.


In May 1900, Major Walter Reed returned to Cuba when he was appointed head of an investigative board charged by Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg to study tropical diseases, particularly yellow fever.


Walter Reed often cited Finlay in his own articles and gave him credit for the idea in his personal correspondence.


Walter Reed returned from Cuba in 1901, continuing to speak and publish on the topic of yellow fever.


In recognition of his research, Walter Reed received honorary degrees from Harvard and the University of Michigan.


Walter Reed died on November 23,1902, of the resulting peritonitis, at age 51.


Walter Reed presented this theory at the 1881 International Sanitary Conference, where it was well-received.


Walter Reed's theory was followed by the recommendation to control the mosquito population as a way to control the spread of the disease.