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In about 120 words, summarize what you know about Ronald Ross and his work on malaria.

 

For may years the connection between mosquitoes and the parasites in the blood of people suffering from malaria was not known. Many doctors working in tropical countries knew that many cases of malaria occurred in areas with large pools of stagnant water. For a while, they thought that malaria was caused by organisms in the water. People got malaria when they drank the water or when they ate food cooked in it. It was Ronald Ross who put the pieces of the malaria jigsaw together.

Some people had vague ideas that malaria and mosquitoes were somehow connected. As early as 1812 there was a law in Sierra Leone which said that all the inhabitants would have to keep the road and area around their houses free of stagnant water, since stagnant water caused 'disease and mosquitoes' over the town.

The first man to link malaria with the mosquito was Ronald Ross. He had been told the Sierra Leone story by a friend, Dr Kennan. Ross knew that malaria was caused by a parasite in the blood. He had even seen the parasites through his invaluable microscope. He had injected healthy people with blood from those suffering from malaria and these healthy people developed the symptoms of the disease. What he could not tell was how the parasites passed from one sick person to a healthy person in normal conditions. it was easy enough for him to do it in the laboratory but how did it happen naturally ? The answer did not come easily. it took years of very careful work and observation before he got the answers.

What was admirable about Ronald Ross was that it was not the nature of his job to study the causes of malaria. He was an Army doctor. All he had to do was look after the sick soldiers. He was expected to prescribe quinine to those who arrived sick in the hospital but his superiors certainly did not expect him to seek the cause of the disease. However, Ross saw the suffering the disease brought and worked continuously for years to find a way to prevent the disease. Malaria was a very debilitating disease and often fatal. Thousand s of people died or lost precious hours of work.

On a visit home from India, Ross visited Dr Patrick Manson. Manson was a great authority on tropical diseases. Manson showed him specimens of the various parasites in the blood of patients in the Seamen's Hospital. These were men who had caught the diseases during voyages to the tropics but they had not been treated until they arrived in England. Ross's meeting with Manson only increased his desire to work on malaria.

In 1895, Ross received a gold medal and seventy five guineas for an essay that he wrote on malaria. He was not interested in the prize but he was very pleased to be honored. It gave him the boost he needed to find the final solution to the dreaded disease. He knew that he was nearer the solution than any other medical man of his time. As soon as he got back to India, he carried on his work on malaria.

 

* Ronald Ross who linked malaria with the mosquito

* heard the Sierra Leone story

* knew malaria caused by parasites in the blood

* seen parasites in his microscope

* injected the parasites in healthy patients -- became ill

* Army doctor -- not medical researcher

* wanted to prevent suffering and death

* visited Patrick Manson, authority on tropical diseases.

* received prize on malaria

 
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Answer
 

Ronald Ross was the first to connect malaria with the mosquito. He had heard stories connecting stagnant water and disease. He knew that malaria was caused by parasites in the blood which he had seen under his microscope. He had injected infected blood into healthy patients who developed the disease. As an army doctor he was only expected to treat the sick. However, he was moved by the suffering malaria brought and wanted to prevent it. He consulted Patrick Manson, an authority on tropical diseases and gained more information. Ross also wrote a prize-winning essay on malaria. He was not interested in the cash but was delighted with the honor. It gave him the encouragement he needed. ( 120 words )

     
 
 

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