History Of Medicalveterinary Entomology

Problems caused by biting and annoying arthropods and the pathogens they transmit have been the subject of writers since antiquity (Service 1978). Homer (mid-8th century BC), Aristophanes (ca. 448-380 BC), Aristotle (384-322 BC), Plautus (ca. 254-184 BC), Columella (5 BC to AD 65), and Pliny (AD 23-79) all wrote about the nuisance caused by flies, mosquitoes, lice, and/or bedbugs. However, the study of modern medical-veterinary entomology is usually recognized as beginning in the late 19th century, when blood-sucking arthropods were first proven to be vectors of human and animal pathogens.

Englishman Patrick Manson (1844—1922) was the first to demonstrate pathogen transmission by a blood-feeding arthropod. Working in China in 1877, he showed that the mosquito Culex pipiens fatigans is a vector of Wuchereria bancrofti, the causative agent of Bancroftian filaria-sis. Following this landmark discovery, the role of various blood-feeding arthropods in transmitting pathogens was recognized in relatively rapid succession.

In 1891, Americans Theobald Smith (1859-1934) and F. L. Kilbourne (1858-1936) implicated the cattle tick, Boophilus annulatus, as a vector of Babesia bigem-ina, the causative agent of Texas cattle fever (bovine babesiosis/piroplasmosis). This paved the way for a highly successful B. annulatus-cradication program in the United States directed by the US Department of Agriculture. The eradication of this tick resulted in the projected goal: the elimination of indigenous cases of Texas cattle fever throughout the southern United States.

In 1898, Englishman Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932), working in India, demonstrated the role of mosquitoes as vectors of avian malarial parasites from diseased to healthy sparrows. Also in 1898, the cyclical development of malarial parasites in anopheline mosquitoes was described by Italian Giovani Grassi (1854—1925). In the same year, Frenchman Paul Louis Simond (1858—1947), working in Pakistan (then part of India), showed that fleas are vectors of the bacterium that causes plague.

In 1848, American physician Josiah Nott (18041873) of Mobile, AL, had published circumstantial evidence that led him to believe that mosquitoes were involved in the transmission of yellow fever virus to humans. In 1881, Cuban-born Scottish physician Carlos Finlay (1833—1915) presented persuasive evidence for his theory that what we know today as the mosquito Aedes ae-gypti was the vector of this virus. However, it was not until 1900 that American Walter Reed (1851-1902) led the US Yellow Fever Commission at Havanna, Cuba, which proved A. aegypti to be the principal vector of yellow fever virus.

In 1903, Englishman David Bruce (1855-1931) demonstrated the ability of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis to transmit, during blood-feeding, the trypanosomes that cause African trypanosomiasis.

Other important discoveries continued well into the 20th century. In 1906, American Howard Taylor Ricketts (1871-1910) proved that the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of Rickettsia rickettsii, the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In 1907, F. P. Mackie (1875-1944) showed that human body lice are vectors of Bomlia recurrentis, the spirochete that causes louse-borne (epidemic) relapsing fever. In 1908, Brazilian Carlos Chagas (1879-1934) demonstrated transmission of the agent that causes American trypanosomiasis, later named Chagas disease in his honor, by the cone-nose bug Panstrongylus megistus.

In 1909, Frenchman Charles Nicolle (1866-1936), working in Tunis, showed that human body lice are vectors of Rickettsia prowazekii, the agent of louse-borne (epidemic) typhus.

These important discoveries, as well as others of historical relevance to medical-veterinary entomology, are discussed in more detail in the references listed at the end of this chapter. Because of the chronology of many major discoveries relevant to this topic in the 50-year period starting in 1877, this time has been called the "golden age of medical-veterinary entomology" (Philip and Rozeboom 1973).

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