Bancroft Exhibition – Mosquito and Parasite Research – Dr Joseph Bancroft

The Bancroft Exhibition Notes, Edited by Karen Tyler and Huxley Baberowski.

Mosquito and Parasite Research – Dr Joseph Bancroft

Mosquitoes were such a problem when they arrived here that the Bancrofts spent a lot of their time studying them to find if they made people sick.

Joseph Bancroft wrote quite a few papers about this, and used his microscope to examine blood samples to find out what was in them.

Microscope and slides belonging to the Bancroft family
Microscope and slides belonging to the Bancroft family

This was how he discovered that there was a parasite which was called ‘Filarasis’ that became a worm after it hatched, and which was what caused the disease called ‘elephantiasis’.

He sent a lithograph of the worm to London to the best scientists of the British Empire. Once he knew what caused it, he was able to diagnose the disease and help treat people who had it.

His son Thomas and Thomas’s daughter called Josephine did so much research on tropical diseases, as well as on mosquitoes, that the Queensland Institute of Medical Research is today known as the Bancroft Centre.

From:

  • The Bancroft Tradition Edited by John Pearn and Lawarie Powell
  • The Bancrofts, Elizabeth Marks and Josephine Bancroft
  • The Impact of the Bancroft Kindred on Australian Medical Science, Frank Fenner

 

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