Patrick Manson (1844–1922) and the Transmission of Filariasis

Eli Chernin Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115

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Led by the eminent Raphael Blanchard, the assemblage in the Tropical Section of the 1913 International Congress of Medicine in London proclaimed Sir Patrick Manson the “Father of Tropical Medicine.” Manson (Fig. 1), then about 70 and just retired, had enjoyed full careers as physician, teacher, and researcher in China and in England, and as founder of the Hongkong Medical School, the London School of Tropical Medicine, later the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Society of Tropical Medicine, later the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Pride of place among Manson's many researches must go to his epochal discovery that a blood-sucking arthropod, a mosquito in this case, serves as the mandatory intermediary for a human parasite. He realized this powerful insight in 1877, not long after Pasteur's major works; thus 1977 marks the centennial of Manson's discovery which signalled the birth of tropical medicine and of medical entomology.

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