Cuba and other Latin American countries are celebrating on Monday the Latin American Medicine Day, in tribute to the birth of Cuban scientist Carlos J. Finlay (1833-1915), discoverer of the transmitting agent of yellow fever.
In his studies, Finlay showed in 1881 that between an infected and a healthy person, there was an independent agent that transmitted the disease, and he was capable of identifying the Aedes aegypti mosquito as the biological vector.
The epidemiologist had several setbacks to show his thesis, devalued at that time by the scientific community, especially the American one.
Some few years later, the 14th International Congress of the History of Medicine held in Rome in 1954 confirmed the Cuban scientist as the only discoverer of the transmitting agent of yellow fever and the application of his doctrine in the sanitation of the Tropic.
Proposed several times for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, although never granted, the celebration of the Latin American Medicine Day every December 3 is a recognition to Finlay’s work.
On May 25, 1981, UNESCO instituted the Carlos J. Finlay International Prize for the first time to recognize progress in microbiology, and included Finlay in its magazine as one of the six most outstanding microbiologists in world history.
To commemorate the date, Cuba is carrying out activities to honor health workers and highlight the main health achievements this year.
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