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Malarial mosquitoes helped defeat British in battle that ended Revolutionary War
The Washington Post ^ | 18 Oct 2010 | J.R. McNeill

Posted on 10/19/2010 2:08:48 AM PDT by Palter

Major combat operations in the American Revolution ended 229 years ago on Oct. 19, at Yorktown. For that we can thank the fortitude of American forces under George Washington, the siegecraft of French troops of Gen. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, the count of Rochambeau - and the relentless bloodthirstiness of female Anopheles quadrimaculatus mosquitoes.

Those tiny amazons conducted covert biological warfare against the British army.Female mosquitoes seek mammalian blood to provide the proteins they need to make eggs. No blood meal,no reproduction. It makes them bold and determined to bite.

Some anopheles mosquitoes carry the malaria parasite, which they can inject into human bloodstreams when taking their meals.In eastern North America, A. quadrimaculatus was the sole important malaria vector. It carried malaria from person to person, and susceptible humans carried it from mosquito to mosquito. In the 18th century, no one suspected that mosquitoes carried diseases.

Malaria, still one of the most deadly infectious diseases in the world, was a widespread scourge in North America until little more than a century ago. The only people resistant to it were either those of African descent - many of whom had inherited genetic traits that blocked malaria from doing its worst - or folks who had already been infected many times, acquiring resistance the hard way. In general, the more bouts you survive, the more resistant you are.

Malaria was all over the American South but especially prevalent in the warm, humid coastlands from Georgia to Maryland, where the climate suited mosquitoes and there were plenty of people (and other mammals) to bite.

In 1779 the British chose a "southern strategy" in their war against rebellious Americans. Since 1775, they had fought inconclusively, with the British controlling the main ports but unable to hold the countryside.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; malaria; mosquitoes; revolutionarywar
McNeill is a Georgetown University professor of environmental history and author of many books, including "Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914."
1 posted on 10/19/2010 2:08:53 AM PDT by Palter
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To: Pharmboy

Ping. Ya might need to use Bugmenot, because it’s a Wash Post article.


2 posted on 10/19/2010 2:10:16 AM PDT by Palter (If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it. ~ Mark Twain)
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To: Palter
Should put the little buggers on all the federal shields.

Especially the presidential shield-seeing as we elected an insect.

3 posted on 10/19/2010 2:45:52 AM PDT by Happy Rain
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To: Palter

Dem Mosquitos beat the French in Panama as well


4 posted on 10/19/2010 2:48:20 AM PDT by Loud Mime (It's the CONSTITUTION! www.initialpoints.net)
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To: Palter
Once committed to Yorktown, Cornwallis faced a biological warfare campaign he could not counter.

At least he waited till the last paragraph to accuse us of germ warfare.

5 posted on 10/19/2010 3:27:53 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Palter

I can definitely attest to the mosquitos in that area.
Up until my teens, I grew up a few miles from Yorktown and remember the mosquitos being so bad that in the summer that the local military bases (Langley Air Force Base mostly) using military planes to spray every other week for mosquitos.


6 posted on 10/19/2010 4:11:04 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (The Recession is officially over. We are now into Obama's Depression.)
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To: Palter

The Vietnam War (the early years) suffered from this mosquito. A vicious little bastard. The evacuation rates from the battlefield for “...persistent, continuous fever of 102 degrees for 24 hours” led to some units dropping a very high percentage of their men.
Also led to introduction of “The Orange Pill/Monday morning pill.” Now a known cancer causer. Dapsone, taken daily when outside the wire. Another known cancer causer.


7 posted on 10/19/2010 4:54:01 AM PDT by donozark (It's hard to afford a psychiatrist when you work at a gas station.)
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To: R. Scott

8 posted on 10/19/2010 5:15:41 AM PDT by Diogenesis ('Freedom is the light of all sentient beings.' - Optimus Prime)
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To: Palter

evidently the mosquito’s were rebels and only bit the Brit’s and Germans? So I guess it wasn’t Nathanael Greene, Daniel Morgan, and Francis Marion after all. (BTW Morgan contracted malaria in SC, forcing him to retire from command),


9 posted on 10/19/2010 5:18:22 AM PDT by Waverunner (")
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To: Palter; indcons; Chani; thefactor; blam; aculeus; ELS; Doctor Raoul; mainepatsfan; timpad; ...
Palter...thanks much for the post and the ping. He didn't cite any evidence for this theory, but he might be right. Interesting nonetheless...here's a site that lists battles affected by malaria (or presumed so). Yorktown is listed as a possibility.

The RevWar/Colonial History?General Washington ping list...

10 posted on 10/19/2010 5:36:28 AM PDT by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Palter; indcons; Chani; thefactor; blam; aculeus; ELS; Doctor Raoul; mainepatsfan; timpad; ...
Palter...thanks much for the post and the ping. He didn't cite any evidence for this theory, but he might be right. Interesting nonetheless...here's a site that lists battles affected by malaria (or presumed so). Yorktown is listed as a possibility.

The RevWar/Colonial History?General Washington ping list...

11 posted on 10/19/2010 5:37:38 AM PDT by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Pharmboy; Palter
Doctors and medicine were little help. To treat malaria, military physicians normally recommended venesection - draining 20 ounces of blood, about 10 percent of an adult's supply - sometimes supplementing that with doses of mercury or opium, and in one case applying freshly killed pigeons to the soles of patients' feet.

BTTT

12 posted on 10/19/2010 6:22:57 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Pharmboy

bttt!


13 posted on 10/19/2010 7:30:10 AM PDT by aculeus
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To: Palter

Interesting article, but McNeill makes a false claim “without mosquitoes there would be no U.S.” Even if it could be proved that mosquitoes helped, clsiming success on one factor is a bad argument.


14 posted on 10/19/2010 7:41:14 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Palter; Pharmboy

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Thanks Pharmboy for the ping, and Palter for the topic.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

About two hundred years later someone finally developed the SWAT team.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

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15 posted on 10/19/2010 11:16:02 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Waverunner

I didn’t read the entire article, but perhaps the locals to the region had contracted malaria several times during their lives while living there and so were immune to its effects, while the Brits were not.

Although many of the Americans were from up north and came with Washington, so I suppose they got it as well.


16 posted on 10/19/2010 11:26:15 AM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: 21twelve

Malaria is caused by a parasite in your blood stream.
Back then when you had it, it would regularly symptomatically flair up once contracted it. You don’t get immune, like mumps or measles. It was a very bad thing,
BTW - World War II: Many troops had to suffer casualties by inflicted malaria even in World War II. Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s predicament in May 1943 is very clear: “This will be a long war if for every division I have facing the enemy I must count on a second division in hospital with malaria and a third division convalescing from this debilitating disease!” It appears that the general was not at all worried about defeating the Japanese, but was greatly concerned about the failure to defeat the Anopheles mosquito! 60,000 U.S. troops died in Africa and the South Pacific from malaria. U.S. Forces could succeed only after organising a successful attack on malaria.


17 posted on 10/19/2010 12:05:49 PM PDT by Waverunner (")
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To: Waverunner

“..it would regularly symptomatically flair up once contracted it.”

Interesting. I did some work in Papua New Guinea and one of our local workers didn’t show up. His friend said he had malaria. I had this worried look on my face and his friend said “No problem, he should be back to work next week”. So perhaps this was not so much him “getting” malaria, but just the symptoms showing up again.


18 posted on 10/19/2010 12:12:10 PM PDT by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: driftless2

Agreed. Probably worse than claiming all success was due to the French.


19 posted on 10/19/2010 6:35:36 PM PDT by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Pharmboy; Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; Global2010; Battle Axe; null and void; ...

Bump & a malaria-resistance gap ping


20 posted on 10/20/2010 3:44:26 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

FYI the last state in the US to eradicate Malaria was......of course Mississippi.


21 posted on 10/20/2010 7:40:39 PM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: driftless2; SunkenCiv
Interesting article, but McNeill makes a false claim “without mosquitoes there would be no U.S.” Even if it could be proved that mosquitoes helped, claiming success on one factor is a bad argument.

Call me crazy, but the French fleet keeping the British fleet out of the Chesapeake strikes me as tad bit more important.

22 posted on 10/21/2010 4:11:46 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: colorado tanker
Not only that, the writer makes a logical fallacy by assuming that if x didn't happen then y wouldn't occur. That's similar to the people who claim for example that if Jackie Robinson hadn't have been a success, there would be no blacks in baseball. Apparently many people fell for that sort of nonsense. The fact that a number of clubs had been itching for the opportunity to use black players and that integration into baseball and other big league sports was inevitable totally escaped them.

If the British had been able to quell that rebellion, rest assured many more would have followed. There was no way the British government could keep the American colonies from eventually becoming independent.

23 posted on 10/22/2010 7:59:08 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: driftless2
If the British had been able to quell that rebellion, rest assured many more would have followed. There was no way the British government could keep the American colonies from eventually becoming independent.

Americans have quite the independent streak, don't we? The powers that be are learning that all over again this year. :-))

24 posted on 10/22/2010 11:37:53 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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