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The other Dr Finlay

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 04 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:618
  1. P P Mortimer, virologist
  1. London

    Two blocks along the left bank of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is the Rue du Docteur Finlay. Eponymous streets abound in France, but most are dedicated to French notables, and rarely if ever fictional ones Spring to mind though he may, therefore, we are not dealing here with the junior partner at Tannochbrae.*

    Instead, the doctor in question is Carlos Juan Finlay. The street sign describes Finlay as “Mèdecin et chercheur cubain, 1833-1915.” This is too brief a description to do justice either to Finlay's cosmopolitan background or his universal influence. For Finlay was of Scottish, French, and Irish stock, and is generally credited with having been first to propose that yellow fever was spread by mosquitoes. He suggested, in 1881, that this mortal disease, so prevalent in the cities of South and Central America and the southern United States, as well as in west Africa, …

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