International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Emile Marchoux

    Status Medical Researcher
    Country France


    Emile Marchoux was born in Saint-Amand-de-Boixe, Charente, France on 24 March 1862. After schooling at Angoulême, he studied medicine in Paris and in 1887 wrote his thesis on the history of typhoid fever in marine troops. After university, he embarked on a career as an army doctor in Dahomey and Indochina. Between 1893 and 1905, he took a course at the Pasteur Institute, ran the laboratory in Saint-Louis, Senegal and contributed to the study mission of yellow fever in Brazil.

    In 1905 he left the army to take a permanent post at the Pasteur Institute, as head of the Tropical Microbiology Service. During this time, he led important research on leprosy and malaria.. He became a champion of antileprosy prophylaxis and most of his scientific work was done on leprosy. He made a detailed study of rat leprosy and reported "inapparent" leprosy in the rat, infection being proven by presence of acid-fast bacilli in the lymphatic glands. He described a case of human leprosy in which he presented evidence that suggested it was attributable to accidental subcutaneous inoculation of material containing the bacillus of Stefansky.

    He co-founded the Société de Pathologie Exotique (SPE) in 1908, of which he was later President, from 1928 to 1932.

    In 1923, he was Chairman of the International Leprosy Congress, following which he was elected as the second President of the International Leprosy Association (ILA), and in 1931 he founded the Institut Central de la Lèpre at Bamako, with F Sorel.

    He was President of the First International Congress of Mediterranean Hygiene in 1932 and in 1934 became General Secretary of the Roux Foundation. He was also a member of the French Academy of Medicine, and a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. He died on 19 August 1943.

    Info from Institut Pasteur website: and International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973.

    Entry made on 17 January 2003. Last updated 6 April 2006.


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