Placing medical entomology in Portuguese tropical medicine (1902-1966)

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In late 19th and early 20th century, the epidemiological study of diseases gained importance within tropical medicine as a tool for colonization of the European empires leading to the specialization of medical doctors and zoologists, whom dedicated to parasitology and entomology, could identify agents of diseases and insect species responsible for their transmission. Scientific strategies would be determined by the Schools of Tropical Medicine founded in Europe at that time, aiming a successful occupation of tropical territories.
In the Portuguese context, alongside with the activities and policies of the School of Tropical Medicine founded in Lisbon in 1902, and its successor Institute after 1935, physicians, health officers and researchers working at medical institutions in the tropics dedicated their activity to training, research and scientific missions concerning the epidemiological knowledge of diseases where insects played an important role in their transmission to humans. To deal with these pathologies, entomologists devoted their activities to research and study biological and ecological patterns of insect vectors, bringing new prevention and fighting methods into the existing medical policies. Additionally, entomologists organized insect collections for further research and training of new specialists, participated in international meetings and specialized interchange trainings, and built their own scientific networks. As a result, medical entomology became a central discipline inside tropical medicine.
Methodology to employ will be based on the analysis of the activity of Portuguese medical entomologists working from Portuguese institutions dedicated to tropical medicine, particularly their national and international connexions, teaching of medical entomology, and scientific field missions, reflected on primary and secondary sources on the history of tropical medicine.
In this way, this work intends to explore and to understand how medical entomology has advanced and evolved within tropical medicine, between 1902 and 1966.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018
Event46th Congress of the ISHM (International Society for the History of Medicine) -
Duration: 3 Sep 20187 Sep 2018


Conference46th Congress of the ISHM (International Society for the History of Medicine)


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