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Early in Florida history, Yellow Fever was a serious problem for the state. This major disease historically affected Florida in many ways. Yellow Fever often wiped out whole communities, such as the destruction of St. Joseph, Florida. At the same time, attempts to treat the cause and effect of the disease led to the discovery of air-conditioning by John Gorrie and the rise of public health agencies to foster control and quarantines of Florida cities.
In the 1880s, Florida saw the rise of public health - the concern for health of citizens by governmental agencies such as city and county Board of Health. Into the twentieth century, these organizations became concerned over contagious diseases, health care for children and rural citizens, vaccination programs, and health education.

The Florida Heritage Collection contains materials which help document much of the research related to Yellow Fever, as well as documents dealing with statistical information and firsthand accounts. There are also works on social welfare and descriptions of the efforts of state health organizations to better the state of public health in Florida.


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