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Historical Aspects of American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas' Disease)


Matthias Perleth

In this book, the history of Chagas' disease is discussed in the context of the emergence of modern medicine in Brazil. Based on extensive literature search and archive studies, different aspects of this important disease are reviewed. Starting from the clinical and socioeconomic significance, a summary of the history prior to its discovery by Chagas in 1908 is presented. The disease discovery process is discussed in terms of parasitic disease knowledge in this period and the continuing effort leading to the early Chagas' disease concept. For the first time, the influence of the Schaudinn School of protozoology on this formation process is shown. Finally, the reception of this scientific contribution in Brazil in an environment of increasing tension between the «old» hygiene and the «new» public health is analyzed.
Contents: Chagas' disease - a general overview - Ecological and epidemiological aspects - Evolution of Brazilian medical science - Discovery of Chagas' disease - Early Chagas' disease research - Public health and Chagas' disease in Brazil.