'The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator'

How the Mosquito Played a Role in the American Revolution

The Rich Zeoli Show
August 09, 2019 - 11:24 am
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PHILADELPHIA (1210 WPHT)- Mosquitoes may be a nuisance, but according to one historian, they have played a major role in the history of civilization.

In an interview with The Rich Zeoli Show, The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator author Dr. Timothy C. Winegard explained what makes mosquitoes so harmful to humans.

“By itself, the mosquito is harmless,” Winegard explained. “It’s the multitude of diseases that the female…transmits.

“[The mosquitos] have been far more lethal than the minds of the most brilliant generals or any manmade weapons or inventions.”

“Across our history, she’s essentially had her way with armies and with our culture and society,” said Winegard.

According to Winegard, the mosquito played a major role in both the rise and fall of Rome.

“Rome was surrounded by something called the Pontine Marshes, which were a malarial hot bed,” said Winegard.  “So in a way, when invading armies, whether it be…the Huns, the Vandals came to attack Rome, they were shielded by this wall of malarious mosquitos if you will.

“Eventually, endemic malaria started sapping the strength of Rome itself,” Winegard said.

Closer to home, the mosquito helped America win its independence from England in the Revolutionary War.

“In the American Revolution, during the final year, year-and-a-half, during the Southern campaign that ended the war, the mosquito had her way with British forces who were not accustomed or acclimated to American malaria strains,” Winegard explained.

“Cornwallis very clearly says that his surrender at Yorktown was caused mostly by malaria, and he had roughly 35, 37 percent of his troops left standing,” said Winegard.  “And the rest were either dead or laid up, sick with malaria and unable to fight.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Timothy C. Winegard below.