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The Etiology of Kala-Azar

Nature volume 88, pages 555556 (22 February 1912) | Download Citation



A TELEGRAM from Surgeon-General Bannerman to Sir Ronald Ross, published in The Times and other daily papers of February 15, announces that Captain W. S. Patton, I.M.S., “has discovered the complete development of the parasite of Kala-azar in Indian and European bed-bugs.” The news, as it stands, is not quite intelligible, since Captain Patton proved in 1907 that the parasite Leishmania dono-vani went through the same development in the Indian bed-bug, Cimex rotundatus, that it had been discovered by Major Leonard Rogers to undergo in artificial cultures. On epidemiological grounds the bed-bug had been indicated by Major Rogers as the probable agent in the transmission of the disease, while Major Donovan considered it more probable that another bug, Conorhinus rubrofasciatus, was the means of disseminating the parasite. The bare fact that the parasite developed in the bed-bug so far as its flagellated, herpetomonad stage was not in itself a decisive proof that the bed-bug was responsible for its transmission; and from the telegram received it can only be supposed that Captain Patton has completed his former investigations on the development of the parasite, and has obtained definite experimental proof of its transmission by the agency of the bedbug.

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