The Citizen (Gauteng)

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY 13 May, 1857: Sir Ronald Ross, malaria pioneer


Sir Ronald Ross, the man who discovered the malaria mosquito, was born in Almora, India, in 1857. After graduating in medicine, he entered St Bartholome­w’s Hospital Medical College.

In 1881 he joined the Indian medical service and visited Madras, Burma and Andaman Islands, developing an interest in poetry, literature and mathematic­s. Sir Ronald began his study of malaria in 1892.

He discovered the transmissi­on of malaria in humans through the Anopheles mosquito in 1897. Sir Ronald continued his research and visited various countries in West Africa and Panama, advising and aiding in the eradicatio­n of malaria.

In 1902, he received the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery. Sir Ronald authored a book, The Prevention of Malaria, in 1910. While he is known for his work on malaria, he is also remembered as a mathematic­ian, editor and novelist.

He was the director-in-chief of the Ross Institute until his death on 16 September, 1932.


Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People who have malaria usually suffer with a high fever and shaking chills.

The disease is caused by a plasmodium parasite. People travelling to areas where malaria is common typically take protective drugs before, during and after their trip. Treatment includes antimalari­al drugs.

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