William Gorgas – 1854-1920
A U.S. Army surgeon, Gorgas was responsible for health and sanitation in Havana during the period of the Spanish-American War. Confronted by endemic yellow fever, he proved by experiment that the disease was transmitted by the bite of a certain mosquito. By taking measures to control the mosquito population, he eliminated yellow fever from Havana, then was sent in 1904 to Panama, where the disease was defeating efforts to build the Panama Canal. Gorgas not only eradicated yellow fever from the Canal Zone, he also drastically reduced the prevalence of another mosquito-borne endemic disease, malaria.