Ever since the peoples of Europe, Africa and the Americas became conscious of the existence of yellow fever through the force of circumstances, they have sought to discover the origin of this scourge of tropical and subtropical countries; but it has remained unexplained.
As in other similar cases, each country has accused its neighbor. The recriminations of the “Gallic disease” were repeated here, just as a few centuries later were those of the “Spanish” influenza. America accused Africa and vice versa. The controversy narrowed as time went by and knowledge of the etiology of the disease increased. When objective information on aedine transmission replaced the miasmic theory, a new question arose: where was the first mosquito infected? Later, although the historical mystery was not solved, the discovery of a virus as the causative agent of the disease and the subsequent development of specific tests made it possible to limit inquiry to certain geographical areas.