Chagas with a microscope. From Wikipedia.

Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, who pioneered the use of insecticides in the prevention of malaria, discovered the parasite responsible for Chagas disease as well as its insect vector and route of transmission.

Chagas began his training as a physician at the Medical School of Rio de Janeiro in 1896 after a stint at the School of Mining Engineering at Minas Gerais. In 1903, he capped his medical training with a thesis on malaria which was endemic to Brazil at the time, along with yellow fever. After graduating, he established himself as a general practitioner in Rio de Janiero and 1907 joined the full-time staff of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, a research institute specializing in infectious diseases.

In 1905, he led Brazil's first successful campaign to control malaria. Its success was due to Chagas' novel use of an insecticide, pyrethum, to disinfect households rather than relying on more cumbersome and less effective traditional method of destroying mosquito larvae. From 1909-1910, Chagas was posted to a remote Brazilian village where he single-handedly undertook a comprehensive study of Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease. From 1917, he served as Director of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz.


Chagas, Carlo. "Chagas, Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 3, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008. 185-186.

Last modified 27 January 2017