Last update:


Arch Hellen Med, 25(2), March-April 2008, 248-254


Sir Ronald Ross’s participation in the Greek anti-malaria fight in 1906

Psychiatry Clinic, 424 General Military Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

The famous Scottish epidemiologist Sir Ronald Ross visited Greece in 1906. He was invited by the Lake Copais Company, which had taken on the drainage work of the lake. Ross was helped in his tour by Professor Savvas and Dr Kardamatis, who established the Greek Antimalaria League. Ross gave a lecture at the Oxford Medical Society where he described his experiences in Greece. He discovered that the prevalence of malaria was very high amongst the Copais Company workers and children of the area. The children were examined by Ross and some had blood tests. Several mosquito species transmitted the malaria parasite, mainly where there were marshes. Professor Ross, already winner of the Nobel Prize organized expeditions in order to develop and implement mosquito control measures all over the world, including Greece. Ross met King George of Greece, the Prime Minister and other public officers in order to convince them of the need to support Savvas and Kardamatis in their campaign. Ross argued that malaria was responsible for the “decline” of a vigorous ancient Greek civilization. He pointed out that in modern Greece the disease remained a negative factor progress. Ross’s help, apart from scientific advices included financial support to the Greek Anti-malaria League, an offer which would not have been made if Greek doctors had not planned many projects against malaria. Ross’s stature helped the Greek doctors’ systemic fight. Furthermore Savvas and Ross, as ex army officers, had an excellent collaboration which was invaluable when they were called as health experts in the wars that took place on the Macedonian front in the following years.

Key words: Copais, Kardamatis, Malaria, Ross, Savvas.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine