A Milestone on the Road to the Discovery of the Lifecycles of the Human Schistosomes

George S. Nelson Department of Medical Helminthology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT

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On 30 January 1915 the British Medical Journal published a paper entitled: “Observations on the spread of Asiatic schistosomiasis” by R. T. Leiper, D.Sc., M.B., F.Z.S., and Surgeon E. L. Atkinson, R.N., with a note on “Katayama nosophora” by G. C. Robson, B.A. The paper summarises observations on the lifecycle of Schistosoma japonicum made by Leiper and Atkinson in the course of an expedition to China and Japan in March 1914; an expedition which was curtailed by the outbreak of the 1914–1918 war. In the same paper the snail hosts of the parasite are described by Robson under the name of Katayama nosophora as a new genus and new species.

The paper is a significant milestone on the road to the discovery of the lifecycle of schistosomiasis because it is the first paper in English giving a detailed account of the development of the parasite in the snail and its subsequent development in man.

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