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Giancarlo Majori


Malaria, History, Italy


In Italy at the end of 19th Century, malaria cases amounted to 2 million with 15,000-20,000 deaths per year. Malignant tertian malaria was present in Central-Southern areas and in the islands. Early in the 20th Century, the most important act of the Italian Parliament was the approval of laws regulating the production and free distribution of quinine and the promotion of measures aiming at the reduction of the larval breeding places of Anopheline vectors. The contribution from the Italian School of Malariology (Camillo Golgi, Ettore Marchiafava, Angelo Celli, Giovanni Battista Grassi, Amico Bignami, Giuseppe Bastianelli) to the discovery of the transmission’s mechanism of malaria was fundamental in fostering the initiatives of the Parliament of the Italian Kingdom. A program of cooperation for malaria control in Italy, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation started in 1924, with the establishment of the Experimental Station in Rome, transformed in 1934 into the National Institute of Public Health. Alberto Missiroli, Director of the Laboratory of Malariology, conducted laboratory and field research, that with the advent of DDT brought to Italy by the Allies at the end of the World War II, allowed him to plan a national campaign victorious against the secular scourge.


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