Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/50

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ceived in July, 1899, from Mayersville, Miss., were accompanied by the statement—which is appropriate, in view of the fact that the newspapers have insisted that the "kissing bug" prefers the lip—that a friend of the writer was bitten on the lip, and that the effect was a burning pain, intense itching, and much swelling, lasting three or four days. The writer of the letter had been bitten upon the leg and arm, and his brother was bitten upon both feet and legs and on the arm, the symptoms being the same in all cases.

More need hardly be said specifically concerning these biting bugs. The writer's conclusions are that a puncture by any one of them may be and frequently has been mistaken for a spider bite, and that nearly all reported spider-bite cases have had in reality this cause, that the so-called "kissing-bug" scare has been based upon certain undoubted cases of the bite of one or the other of them, but that other bites, including mosquitoes, with hysterical and nervous symptoms produced by the newspaper accounts, have aided in the general alarm. The case of Miss Larson, who died in August, 1898, as the result of a mosquito bite, at Mystic, Conn., is an instance which goes to show that no mysterious new insect need be looked for to explain occasional remarkable cases. One good result of the "kissing-bug" excitement will prove in the end to be that it will have relieved spiders from much unnecessary discredit.



I HAVE the honor to address you, on completion of my term of special duty for the investigation of malaria, on the subject of the practical results as regard the prevention of the disease which may be expected to arise from my researches; and I trust that this letter may be submitted to the Government if the director general thinks fit.

It has been shown in my reports to you that the parasites of malaria pass a stage of their existence in certain species of mosquitoes, by the bites of which they are inoculated into the blood of healthy men and birds. These observations have solved the problem—previously thought insolvable—of the mode of life of these parasites in external Nature.

My results have been accepted by Dr. Laveran, the discoverer of the parasites of malaria; by Dr. Manson, who elaborated the

  1. A report, published in Nature, from Major Ronald Ross to the Secretary to the Director General, Indian Medical Service, Simla. Dated Calcutta, February 16, 1899.