Finlay, Carlos Juan

Finlay, Carlos Juan

Finlay, Carlos Juan (kärˈlōs hwän fēnlī), or Charles John Finlay (fĭnˈlē), 1833–1915, Cuban physician of Scottish and French descent; studied in France; M.D. Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, 1855. Settling in Havana, he began his life work on yellow fever, suggesting in 1881 the mosquito as carrier and in 1882 specifying the genus Stegomyia. The Reed Commission of 1900 inaugurated experiments that conclusively proved his theories. Finlay served as chief health officer of Cuba from 1902 to 1909.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Finlay, Carlos Juan


(Carlos Juan Finlay y Barrés). Born Dec. 3, 1833, in Puerto Principe, now Camagüey; died Aug. 20, 1915, in Havana. Cuban physician and health services organizer. Member of the Academy of Medical and Natural Sciences in Havana.

Finlay studied in France and Germany. In 1855 he graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia (USA) and that same year began working in Cuba. He was the first director of the public health service of Cuba (1902–09) and was one of the authors of Cuba’s first health code.

Finlay’s primary work was in research on yellow fever. In 1881 he proved that the carrier of the disease was a mosquito, Aëdes aegypti, and between 1893 and 1898 developed methods for combating the disease, including the protection of patients from mosquito bites by physical means, the elimination of the carriers’ breeding grounds, quarantine and evacuation of patients, a fumigation procedure, and improvement in hospital services. He also conducted research on other diseases, such as trichinosis, tuberculosis, malaria, and leprosy, and worked on questions of occupational health and sanitary statistics. In 1928 the Order of Finlay, awarded for outstanding work in the field of public health, was established in Cuba. The Institute of Tropical Medicine and the Historical Museum of Medical Science of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba have been named for Finlay; in 1961 his birthday was designated as the Day of Latin American Medicine by the government of Cuba.


Obras completas, vols. 1–5. Havana, 1965–71.


Bogoiavlenskii, N. A., and lu. P. Lisitsyn. O russko-kubinskikh meditsinskikh sviaziakh. Moscow, 1963.
Rodriguez Esposito, C. Finlay por cuarta vez ante el Congreso internacional de historia de la medicina. Havana, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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