Bibliothèque virtuelle

Louis Westenra Sambon - Pioneer of Tropical Medicine

Gerald Hugo Rée

2017, 198 pages, 4 729 ko.


 Sambon was born  in Italy in 1866.  His father Giulio was  a noted antiquarian, his mother Laura was English.  His paternal grandfather was French, and a  noted numismatist.  Louis was brought up  trilingual, and received a broad and classical education.  He decided on a medical career following the  experience of the cholera outbreak in Naples in 1884.   His doctoral thesis was on parasitic  cestodes of man, and shows his early interest in this rapidly developing field  of medicine.  In 1897, he published his  first English language paper, on climate and health in the tropics.  The paper brought him to the attention of Sir  Patrick Manson, who saw immediate advantages in having someone at his side who  was trilingual, since important work in medical parasitology, especially in the  field of malaria, was being undertaken by French and Italian researchers.  Sambon was appointed a lecturer at Manson’s  new School of Tropical Medicine.  His  Italian background brought him the dislike of Sir Ronald Ross, who famously denied  Giovanni Grassi the priority for the discovery of the mosquito transmission of  the malaria parasite.  His family’s  antiquarian background brought him to the attention of Henry Wellcome, the  proprietor of the Burroughs Wellcome Pharmaceutical company, who used Sambon to  collect material from around Europe for his famous Historical Medical Museum,  which opened in 1913.Sambon was widely read, and argumentative.  He argued with Sir David Bruce about  trypanosomes, with Arthur Looss about schistosomes,   and he  famously attributed an infectious cause to a number of diseases, most notably  pellagra.  He had numerous supporters for  his pellagra theory in the Americas, but was eventually proved to be  wrong.  In the last stages of his life he  attempted to find a parasitic cause for cancer.   He was attending a cancer conference in Paris when he died. 

Sambon was a  great friend of Raphael Blanchard; he was an enthusiastic member of the French  Société de Pathologie Exotique, and saw himself as a true European.  His name is not well known today, but he made  a number of important contributions to the field of medical parasitology.

      

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Accès aux antirétroviraux dans les pays du sud

édité par Cristina Possas et Bernard Larouzé

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Pr Olivier Bouchaud, IMEA et Université Paris 13, France
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