Desktop version

Home arrow Economics arrow American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease, Second Edition: One Hundred Years of Research

Source

History of the discovery of the American Trypanosomiasis

(Chagas disease)

T. Araujo-Jorge1, J. Telleria2'3 and J.R. Dalenz4

''Fundagao Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, institute for Research for Development (IRD), Montpellier, France, 3Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador, 4Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia

Chapter Outline

A beautiful history of life and work 1 The history of a significant discovery 6

Salvador Mazza: marked the history of the knowledge of his disease 10

Cecilio Romanha: his contribution to the identification of the disease 11

First evidence of Trypanosomiasis Americana (Chagas disease) in various

countries of Latin America 12

Chagas disease 100 years after the discovery 16

Acknowledgments 18

References 18

A beautiful history of life and work

American Trypanosomiasis was named Chagas Disease in honor of its discoverer Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas,1 who was born in a coffee farm at Oliveira (Fig. 1.1), state of Minas Gerais, on July 9, 1878.1-4 His father was a tradesman named Jose Justiniano Chagas and his mother was Maria Ribeiro de Castro, born into a traditional family of coffee producers (Fig. 1.2).

Carlos Chagas suffered three important family losses: his father and his two brothers. Soon, he assumed the responsibility as the head of the family, helping his mother and sister. He spent his childhood (Fig. 1.3) in the farm and his youth in a catholic school in Sao Joao del Rey, where the priest Joao Sacramento exerted an enormous influence on his education.2,3

His mother wanted him to be an engineer but he did not pass the entrance exams, and in consequence, he experienced a severe depression. Carlos Chagas then decided to break with his mother’s expectations and settled in Rio de Janeiro to study medicine, 3 years before the end of the 19th century. Two uncles from his mother’ family profoundly influenced him in finding his medical vocation.

American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801029-7.00001-0

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The house in Oliveira, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas was born (July 9, 1878) (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz)

Figure 1.1 The house in Oliveira, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas was born (July 9, 1878) (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

The parents of Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas

Figure 1.2 The parents of Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas: Jose Justiniano Chagas and Maria Ribeiro de Castro (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

Carlos at the age of about 5, in the farm where he was born (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz)

Figure 1.3 Carlos at the age of about 5, in the farm where he was born (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

During his childhood and youth, his curiosity was awakened; moreover, Sacramento introduced him to the delights of the discovery of the natural world and the art world.

Carlos Chagas exercised all the important mental tools for educating his imagination, as summarized in 1999 by Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein5: to observe, to evoke images, to abstract, to recognize and to form patterns, to think with the body, to empathize, to think in a dimensional way, to establish analogies, to create models, to play, to transform, and to synthesize. These are some of the tools that explain how creative thinking emerges and we can recognize them in his scientific work.

Carlos Chagas graduated in Medicine in 1903, concluding his clinical training under the influence of Professor Miguel Couto and with a well-grounded laboratory experience in the Manguinhos Institute, where he studied malaria. He accepted the invitation of Oswaldo Cruz and got a contract to work as a doctor at the Hygiene and Public Health Office/Ministry, because of his expertise in malaria and also because he needed to take a job with a fixed salary to marry the woman he had fallen in love with, Miss Iris Lobo (Fig. 1.4) from a rich family in Rio de Janeiro. With her he had his two sons, Evandro and Carlos (Figs. 1.4 and 1.5).

He was then commissioned by Oswaldo Cruz to lead a campaign against malaria in Itatinga, state of Sao Paulo. In this and other situations, he advocated a strategy of prevention based on the intrahousehold combat of the mosquito and succeeded in his goal of controlling malaria. Thereafter, a series of events characterize a successful scientific career. Carlos Chagas became member of the Brazilian National

The family founded by Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas [his wife, Iris Lobo (married in July 1904), and his two sons

Figure 1.4 The family founded by Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas [his wife, Iris Lobo (married in July 1904), and his two sons: Evandro and Carlos] (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas (in center) with a group of friends after a hunting expedition, on a property at Rio Pardo, Avare, Sao Paolo (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz)

Figure 1.5 Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas (in center) with a group of friends after a hunting expedition, on a property at Rio Pardo, Avare, Sao Paolo (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

Academy of Medicine in a place especially created for him, received numerous awards and titles of Doctor Honoris Causa (including Harvard, Paris, Lima, and Belgium Universities), was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize (in 1913 and 1921), directed the Oswaldo Cruz Institute for 17 years, and coordinated the campaign against the epidemic of Spanish influenza in Brazil. Several biographers registered these stories, but we especially like two books written by his son, Carlos Chagas Filho,3 where the human and emotional aspects of the scientist do appear very clearly. Two picturesque aspects have been reported by his son: Chagas loved to hunt (Fig. 1.6) and enjoyed football, supporting the football club Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas’ sons

Figure 1.6 Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas’ sons: Evandro and Carlos (Archives of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz).

The political, scientific, and cultural context in which Carlos Chagas was immersed and made his discovery was a very rich one. Politically, it was the end of the era of the Brazilian empire, with the abolition of slavery and the proclamation of the Republic of Brazil. Successive presidential elections and popular rebellions occurred.

The American Trypanosomiasis discovery also was determined by a peculiar health context in Brazil. In the Institute of Manguinhos, Oswaldo Cruz implanted a virtuous triad articulating assistance, research, and education. This public health model remains until now at the current Fiocruz, which continues today as an institution of science, technology, and innovation in health linked to the Ministry of Health. After the campaign against the Spanish flu in 1918, Chagas created the National Department of Public Health, giving rise to the future Ministry of Health, and implicating the presence of the State all over the Nation due to the creation of the Sanitary Code, thus expanding the assistance to other diseases such as tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and workers’ health, creating the School of Nursing and creating a program for prophylaxis in endemic areas with “endemic guards.” A strong cooperation with the Rockefeller Foundation was initiated. Formal science education started in 1911 with the first “Course of Application” at the Institute, and in 1925 Carlos Chagas began the first Special Course in Hygiene and Public Health. He became Professor of Tropical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in 1928.3

 
Source
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics