Finlay, Carlos Juan (1833–1915)

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Finlay, Carlos Juan (1833–1915)

Carlos Juan Finlay (b. 3 December 1833; d. 20 August 1915), a Cuban physician and epidemiologist. After earning his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Finlay pursued additional studies in Havana and Paris before beginning his medical practice in Cuba. He represented the Cuban government to a commission from the United States that arrived on the island in 1879 to study the transmission of yellow fever. In 1881, Finlay concluded that a mosquito, known as the Aédes aegypti, was the carrier of the disease, but his theory was largely ignored by the medical community until 1900, when U.S. General Leonard Wood ordered Walter Reed to test Finlay's theory. Reed's experiments in Havana confirmed Finlay's findings, a discovery that led to the eradication of yellow fever in much of the tropics. Unfortunately, Reed, rather than Finlay, has received most of the credit for the elimination of yellow fever.

See alsoDiseases; Medicine: The Modern Era.


L. O. Howard, The Yellow Fever Mosquito (1913).

James H. Hitchman, Leonard Wood and Cuban Independence, 1898–1902 (1971).

Hermio Portell-Vila, Finlay: Vida de un sabia cubano (1990).

Additional Bibliography

López Sánchez, José. Carlos J. Finlay: His Life and His Work. La Habana: Editorial José Martí, 1999.

                                          Thomas M. Leonard

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Finlay, Carlos Juan (1833–1915)

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