Combating the tsetse fly: rare historical reports now available

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By | From the Collections


Brian Hursey was an international expert on the control of tsetse flies, the vector of African trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness” in man and animals. As a student, he specialised in the study of tsetse flies and, upon graduation in 1964, he took up a post in Kenya as a Tsetse Officer. This was the beginning of a highly successful career during which he worked in various parts of Africa, planning and supervising ground spraying, eradicating the tsetse fly from huge areas. At the 50th anniversary conference of the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control, he was awarded a “certificate of appreciation” on behalf of the people of Africa.

By the time Brian Hursey died in 2008 he had collected documents spanning 80 years, much of it “grey literature” or report material of the kind that is often difficult to obtain and can be easily lost to researchers. This material is now safely stored and accessible to users of the Wellcome Library. The books and reports include some of Hursey’s own publications. Some typescript and unpublished material forms a small archive collection.

We are grateful to Mr Hursey’s family for this donation to the Wellcome Library, and to Glasgow University Library for arranging the transfer. As well as fitting one of our current collecting priorities (combating infectious disease), it further enriches our significant holdings relating to tropical medicine.

Image: Tsetse flies being studied in laboratory conditions (Wellcome Images, C0022522)

Author: Elizabeth Graham

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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