Part I Human Trypanosomiasis in Liberia, 1941–1944

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History of Trypanosomiasis in Liberia. The first authentic record of trypanosomiasis in Liberia is by the Harvard Expedition in 1926, when Dr. Max Theiler examined 10 children in the towns of Bakratown and Paiata and found trypanosomes in material aspirated from the cervical lymph glands in 5 cases.

Dr. G. W. Harley, in an article “Ganta Dispensary Patients”, published in 1933 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine, records 12 cases of trypanosomiasis from the Central Province, near the French border of Liberia. From his description some of the cases must have been moderately advanced.

My interest in trypanosomiasis began in 1934, when a schoolboy died in the town of Sobobo, on the Kru coast near Sasstown, with typical symptoms of trypanosomiasis. Laboratory examinations were made on blood and spinal fluid, but with negative results. Later, in 1936, when employed by the Firestone Plantations Company at the Cavalla Plantation, my chief surgical assistant, Thomas Brown, a Kru boy, developed clinical symptoms of trypanosomiasis.