Adolpho Lutz and controversies over the transmission of leprosy by mosquitoes.Hist Cienc Saude Manguinhos 2003; 10(Suppl 1):49-93HC
During his years of study in Switzerland and Germany, Adolpho Lutz published his first articles on zoology, clinical practice, and therapeutics. In Limeira, São Paulo, he began studies on animal and human diseases caused by germs and parasites. In 1885-86, Lutz traveled to Hamburg to study the morphology of germs related to skin diseases, in conjunction with Paul Gerson Unna, one of Germany's foremost dermatologists. He proposed the inclusion of Hansen's and Koch's bacilli in a new genus. In 1889, Unna nominated his student as physician-in-chief of the Leper Settlement on Molokai Island, Hawaii. From then on, Lutz sustained the theory that the disease was transmitted by mosquitos. He conducted research to prove this theory when he was head of the Instituto Bacteriológico de São Paulo (1893-1908) and, later, after he moved to the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (1908-1940). Although this research was not successful, on commissions and at congresses in which he participated until his death in October 1940, he still held to his conviction that leprosy was transmitted by mosquitoes.