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Gorgas, William C.

Gorgas, William C. (1854–1920), military physician, sanitarian expert, and surgeon general.Born in Alabama, the son of a West Pointer who had been the Confederacy's chief ordnance officer, Gorgas received a medical degree from New York's Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1876 and joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1880. When army surgeon Walter Reed proved mosquitoes were the transmitters of the yellow fever virus, Gorgas, as the army's chief health officer in Havana, Cuba, during the U. S. occupation (1889–1902), initiated sanitation countermeasures that eradicated the disease in Cuba by eliminating the mosquito‐breeding areas and segregating stricken patients. During 1904–13, he served in Panama, duplicating his successes and greatly contributing to the completion of the canal by reducing malaria outbreaks among laborers. He later applied his sanitary measures in other parts of the world, including Ecuador and South Africa. In 1914, he was promoted to major general and appointed surgeon general of the U. S. Army. Gorgas served from 1914 to 1919, skillfully administering the Medical Corps during World War I. He died in London of a stroke. After a military funeral, his body was returned for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.


Marie D. Gorgas and and Burton J. Hendrick , William Crawford Gorgas: His Life and Work, 1924.
Edward F. Dolan, Jr. and and H.T. Silver , William Crawford Gorgas: Warrior In White, 1968.

Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.

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