On the 15th of last month the U. S. steam frigate Susquehanna arrived at this port from Aspinwall, with 155 cases of yellow fever on board, having landed 85 sick men at Kingston, Jamaica, and having lost 17. Her crew was landed at Quarantine, and by order of the authorities, the ship was sent down to the lower bay, there to wait until some plan was decided upon for ventilating and disinfecting the hold, in which the disease, malaria, or whatever yellow fever is, seemed chiefly to be located. There she lies now, of no use, and may perhaps be the nest egg of an epidemic, while doctors, officials, and the public are saying with the novelist, " What shall we do with it?" Gentlemen in the daily papers have proposed a voyage to the Arctic regions, but without calculating the expense of towing her there and back; and it has been proposed to fill the ship with ice and salt, and by creating an artificial atmosphere of intense cold, so disinfect the ship; this we are inclined to think is a practicable idea. There is, however, a quantity of machinery in her, and the preservation of that has also to be considered, for if that is to be foolishly sacrificed, she might be sunk for a week and then raised. For our own part, we are inclined to think that air heated by passing through a furnace or boiler and then mixed with chlorine gas, and forced into the hold at a pressure by a pump or fan blast, to act as a ventilating current, would do the work, but we would like to receive suggestions from our correspondents in regard to some cheap and practical method for driving out and conquering the dreadful monster, yellow fever.
This article was originally published with the title "The Infected Ship" in Scientific American 13, 35, 277 (May 1858)