If you travel through the beautiful city of New Orleans, Louisiana, especially on a top-rated ghost tour, you may discover that it has some of the most gruesome and dark histories of any city in the United States. From voodoo to vampires to ghosts, the city has it all. But, in addition to these standard and famous tales of the paranormal, there was also a time when something different entirely plagued the city: yellow fever.

This New Orleans yellow fever epidemic swept through the nation in the 1800s, primarily from 1850 to 1900.

This disease was transferred by mosquitoes and mainly affected immigrants traveling into New Orleans. When bitten by one of the insects containing this virus, they would be attacked shortly after that. This highly contagious disease caused headaches, muscle pain, fever, and jaundice. After these symptoms were felt for a time, the victims would then suffer from liver and kidney failure, seizures, and death.

New Orleans yellow fever epidemic

An innocent carrier of a deadly epidemic.

It was during the hotter seasons that this disease became the most rampant. Mosquitoes were of high population in New Orleans at these times and would infect up to one-tenth of the people at specific points. Altogether, over 40,000 people would succumb to this painful and infectious disease. The death toll would become so extreme, that a wagon would travel throughout the town to pick up the hundreds of corpses of the unfortunate every day. Luckily for modern-day residents, today’s scientists have found ways to control the spread of this disease and the mosquito populations, keeping yellow fever from attacking the United States since the early 20th century.

Although typical ghost stories of massive death tolls involve murders, suicides, and wars, a humongous number of people would die from a painful disease known as yellow fever. This would become one of the most deadly diseases ever to affect New Orleans, wiping out up to one-thousand people per week at its most lethal. So if you’re ever in New Orleans and wondering where ghosts may be found, it may be easier to discover the locations of the dead than you may think.