W.C. Daniell, MD

Observations Upon the Autumnal Fevers of Savannah

The title page of WC Daniel's book "Observations Upon the Autumnal Fevers of Savannah."

William Coffee Daniell a medical doctor in Savannah wrote his Observations of the Autumnal Fevers of Savannah in the year 1825, five years after the outbreak that had occurred. He wrote this initially as a tool to be used by city officials in the future fight against outbreaks. As a younger doctor, not even a decade out of medical school, Daniell was forced to deal with one of the largest outbreaks in Savannah’s history up until that point. He recognizes this fact and states that the was well beyond his depth of knowledge when he first began to fight the virus.

Daniell, to the best of our knowledge, was educated at The University of Pennsylvania, as demonstrated by his acknowledgments section. This is important because he states the great amount of help and kindness that he received from a one N. Chapman, MD. Daniell sought the support of professor Chapman because he needed help finding a suitable treatment. At the time one could not simply write a prescription that was universal to all cases of the Yellow Fever, instead Daniell needed to create an individualized treatment plan that would help each person recover. He caught on quickly that the port was a major hub for infection because it was one of the major shipping points in the southern United States.

Daniell also argued that Savannah’s climate and topography were involved in the spread of the fever because it was wet and primarily low lands. At the turn of the century it would be discovered that such conditions were favorable to the mosquitoes carrying the disease and was a major factor as to why Savannah’s outbreaks were so deadly and hard to control. It is important to note that Daniell did not make the connection between Savannah as a port city and the spread of the fever.9