Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 1, January-February 2009

Miasma revisited The intellectual history of tropical medicine

Andrew D S Gibson
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Tropical medicine arose as an area of medical practice in the last decade of the 19th century. Patrick Manson dominated its early history, and it thrived through the height of the colonial era. With the end of colonialism, tropical medicine underwent an evolution, with the rise of the disciplines of travel medicine, geographic medicine, international health, and global medicine. With the links of tropical medicine to commerce, and tropical medicine’s indirect association with miasma, history might be seen to repeat itself. ‘Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world’. Louis Pasteur, 1876 ‘Alas, what danger will it be to us maids as we are to travel so far?’ Rosalind in William Shakespeare As You Like It, Act 7, Scene 3

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