Conversations with the Past: "History of Malaria" by Richard Conklin, MD

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Conversations with the Past: "History of Malaria" by Richard Conklin, MD



one 3/4" U-matic videotape (46:02 minutes)

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This 3/4” U-Matic tape contains a lecture titled "History of Malaria" by Richard Conklin, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology & Lab Medicine at University of Texas Medical School. The lecture took place May 21, 1980, and it was a part of the series “Conversations with the Past.” The recording runs 46:02, with about 44 minutes of lecture content. According to the credits, it was a Medical Community Television System Production. The recording is a duplication, in color, with stereo sound.
(0:01) The recording begins with color bars and black screen.
(0:33) Title card
(0:55) Dr. Conklin introduces his talk, noting the long history of malaria, as well as rising concern among Europeans when they began colonizing the tropics.
(3:10) He notes the Greeks understood the association with marshes, described the clinical syndromes, and attempted control measures.
(3:48) New developments beginning in the 16th century: therapy, discovery of the parasite, the mosquito’s role, and control.
(4:40) Therapy. Cinchona bark.
(8:20) Jesuit Juan Lopez, first recorded person to bring cinchona bark to Europe. Cardinal Juan de Lugo received it, eventually using it and becoming an advocate for it.
(10:30) In England, [Oliver] Cromwell opposed it. Later Dr. [Thomas] Sydenham did trials on it, finding it worked on intermittent fevers. In Italy, Dr. [Francesco] Torti separated continuous and intermittent fevers in his testing.
(11:36) Astronomer Dr. [Charles Marie] de la Condamine described the trees and sent results to [Carl] Linnaeus, who cataloged it.
(12:28) [Charles] Ledger, born 1818 in London, introduced alpacas from Peru to Australia.
(17:38) Ledger sent his assistant Manuel to gather cinchona seeds. The British acquired their own cinchona seeds. The Dutch purchased Ledger’s seeds and planted them in the Dutch East Indies (Java). Ledger’s seeds outperformed the British ones.
(21:18) At the outbreak of World War II, Java produced all the world’s quinine. An expedition to the Philippines gathered seeds and gave them to Merck Company, which planted them in Guatemala. After the war, synthetic options were available, and the plantations in Guatemala were abandoned. But they were restored, and new ones were planted once resistant strains emerged.
(23:28) Parasite. Charles Alphonse Laveran, born in Paris, the first person to see a malaria parasite. He went to Algeria in 1878, began to study malaria patients, and made observations. In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize. [Camillo] Golgi distinguished three different parasites.
(28:34) Vector: the mosquito. An American, Dr. Albert Freeman Africanus King outlined this possibility. British and Russian researchers also looked at vectors.
(30:15) Patrick Manson, founder of the London School of Tropical Medicine. He was the first to report the mosquito as vector for a human parasite, including for malaria. However, he thought the mosquito got the parasite from water, not from another human. [Robert] Koch was first to suggest human-to-mosquito-to-human transmission.
(32:56) Theobald Smith, from Albany, New York, studied cattle disease caused by ticks. He proved an insect could transmit to disease to humans. David Bruce also showed transmission of disease among cattle by the tsetse fly.
(34:25) Ronald Ross, a student of Manson’s, studied the mosquito-malaria hypothesis in India and established the linkage. Others confirmed his work. Dr. Manson and Dr. [Giovanni Battista] Grassi tested this on human subjects.
(37:26) News travelled to America. Walter Reid learned about it and started exploring control.
(38:20) Control. Walter Reed and [Dr. William C.] Gorgas went to Cuba to work on control for yellow fever and malaria. Gorgas then worked on control for the building of the Panama Canal.
(40:38) New phase of control begins when a new mosquito was introduced to Brazil. Rockefeller Foundation supported control efforts across large areas.
(42:42) World War II. Synthetic insecticides. WHO set out to eradicate malaria worldwide. But these efforts also resulted in pollution and resistance in some mosquitos.
(44:16) Next phase: biological controls.

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Digital copies made available by the Texas Medical Center Library

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Creative Commons License 4.0, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. Images are to be used for educational purposes only, and are not to be reproduced without permission from The TMC Library, McGovern Historical Center, 1133 John Freeman Blvd, Houston, TX, 77030,, 713-799-7899

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  • English

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  • Processing information: Digitization supported by South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) Speedy Startup funds, 2022.

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