Sir Patrick Manson is considered by many to be the father of tropical medicine. He was the first person to demonstrate, in 1878, that a parasite that causes human disease could infect a mosquito—in this case, the filarial worm that causes elephantiasis. He was also physician to the Seamen’s Hospital Society, the Medical Advisor to the Colonial Office, and later the founder of the London School of Tropical Medicine and the Hong Kong College of Medicine.
Manson thought that the parasite escaped from the mosquito into water and that humans acquired infection from this contaminated water by drinking the parasi water or via penetration of the skin. The actual mode of transmission was not established until suggestions made by the Australian parasitologist Thomas Bancroft were followed up by Manson’s assistant George Carmichael Low, who demonstrated the presence of microfilariae in the mouthparts of mosquitoes in 1900.
- Kean, B. H., K. E. Mott, and A. J. Russell (ed.).1978. Tropical medicine and parasitology: classic investigations. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.
- Low, G. C. 1900. A recent observation on Filaria nocturnain Culex,probable mode of infection in man. Br. Med. J. i:1456-1457.