Heiser and Gorgas, American physicians

Heiser and Gorgas, American physicians

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Caption: US physician and Surgeon General of the US Army William Gorgas (1854-1920, centre) and US physician, hygienist and public health director Victor Heiser (1873-1972, right), wearing protective masks during a flu outbreak in Guatemala. While stationed in Cuba, Gorgas had learnt of research that showed that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever. Later, in Panama, Gorgas's sanitation programs prevented the spread of mosquitoes and reduced the impact of yellow fever and malaria on US workers building the Panama Canal (1904-1914). Heiser spent much of his life trying to prevent disease instead of just treating it. He worked in Italy, Egypt, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Java, Ethiopia, Thailand and Japan and had particular success in the Philippines, where he virtually eradicated smallpox.

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