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Finlay, Carlos J. | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Finlay, Carlos J.

Historical Note: Carlos J. Finaly was born in Camagüey, Cuba on 3 December 1833. The son of a Scottish physician and a French mother, Finlay was educated in France. He studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and at the University of Havana. Even though he was a general practitioner, the problem of yellow fever obsessed him from the early years of his practice. After years of investigation, Finlay presented his findings to the Havana Academy of Science in 1881 that the mosquito was the agent of the disease. His colleagues received this theory with indifference, but he held to it, and during the ensuing twenty years, he built up a good circumstantial case. Finlay's arguments were influential in persuading the Dr. Walter Reed Board in 1900 to concentrate on the transmitting vector, led to the eradication of the disease form the tropics, and ended a terrible epidemic that killed thousands of people. Cuba, France, Britain and the United States awarded him medals and degrees as one of the great benefactors of humanity. Finlay died in Havana on 20 August 1915.

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