Health

Mosquitoes that changed history

Published 9:26 AM ET, Mon February 15, 2016
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In this artistic rendering, in 1789, George Washington, right, declines to accept terms, after the siege of Yorktown, from British Gen. Charles Cornwallis. The British army had been so plagued by malaria that at any given point in the summer, half of their forces were immobilized. Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Gen. Toussaint Louverture led the successful Haitian Revolution that began in 1791. Initially, it was a slave revolt against French colonialists. By its end in 1804, yellow fever had decimated the colonial forces. Stock Montage/Archive Photos/Getty Images
In the summer of 1793, a yellow fever epidemic had taken hold of Philadelphia, then the largest city in the United States. It killed one-tenth of the city's 45,000 people. This 1800 engraving by William Birth shows the Arch Street Ferry in Philadelphia. Encyclopaedia Britannica/l/UIG/Getty Images
In November 1943, U.S. Marines attacked Japanese forces after landing on a beach at Tarawa, on the South Pacific Kiribati Islands, formerly the Gilbert Islands. Both U.S. and Japanese military members were plagued by malaria during World War II, but Japanese forces were not as well equipped to deal with the disease. Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Mosquitoes and malaria were one of the biggest obstacles to building the Panama Canal. Here, a man sprays insecticides to kill mosquitoes around 1913. ullstein bild/Getty Images