Camillo Golgi and the Contribution of the Italian Scientists to the Development of the Malariology in the Last Quarter of the Nineteenth Century


  • Eugenia Tognotti University of Sassari,I


Camillo Golgi , Malariology


Between 1885 and 1892 - a period in which great advances have been made in techniques and practice of the young science of microbiology -Camillo Golgi provided a notable contribution to malariology. Continuing studies and researches of Roman malariologists Ettore Marchiafava (1847–1935) and Angelo Celli (1857–1914), on the malarial parasites -described by the French military physician Alphonse Laveran - he studied the reproduction cycles of the Plasmodium in human blood (Golgi cycles) and elucidated the temporal coincidence between the recurrent chills and fever with the rupture and release of merozoites into the blood stream (Golgi law). He also demonstrated that the so-called tertian and quartan intermittent fevers are due to the presence in the blood of two different protozoan organisms Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium vivax (Alphonse Laveran believed that there was only one species, Oscillaria malariae). These observations made it possible to diagnose and treat the disease. He established that quinine, to varying degrees, was effective against the parasites at different stages of their development-those in the early stages were most affected. Moreover, excluding the etiological specificity of the famous Bacillus malariae, isolated by Klebs and Tommasi Crudeli before Laveran’s discovery in the ground and water of the Pontin Marshes south of Rome, his studies determined the definitive disappearance from the scene of this bacterium; and opened a new phase of the research to which the Italian malariologists will give an important contribution, although the contrasts and scientific rivalries. This article follows the developments of the malariological research in Italy, plagued by the disease, on the contrary of other developed European countries (France and Great Britain) and examines the factors that influenced Italian scholars.