Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas (1879 - 1934) MP

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Nicknames: "Carlos Chagas"
Birthplace: Oliveira, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Death: Died in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Managed by: Nivea Nunes Dias
Last Updated:

About Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas

Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas (Oliveira, 9 de julho de 1879 — Rio de Janeiro, 8 de novembro de 1934) foi um médico sanitarista, cientista e bacteriologista brasileiro, que trabalhou como clínico e pesquisador. Atuante na saúde pública do Brasil, iniciou sua carreira no combate à malária. Destacou-se ao descobrir o protozoário Trypanosoma cruzi (cujo nome foi uma homenagem ao seu amigo Oswaldo Cruz) e a tripanossomíase americana, conhecida como doença de Chagas. Ele foi o primeiro e o único cientista na história da medicina a descrever completamente uma doença infecciosa: o patógeno, o vetor (Triatominae), os hospedeiros, as manifestações clínicas e a epidemiologia.

Foi diversas vezes laureado com prêmios de instituições do mundo inteiro, sendo as principais como membro honorário da Academia Brasileira de Medicina e doutor honoris causa da Universidade de Harvard e Universidade de Paris. Também trabalhou no combate à leptospirose e às doenças venéreas, além de ter sido o segundo diretor do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz.

Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas nasceu no município de Oliveira, Minas Gerais, em 9 de julho de 1879, filho de José Justiniano Chagas e Mariana Cândida Ribeiro de Castro Chagas. O lugar de seu nascimento foi na Fazenda Bom Retiro, onde seus antepassados, de ascendência portuguesa, se enraizaram.

Seu pai, cafeicultor, morreu quando tinha quatro anos de idade, ficando a cargo de sua mãe a administração do cultivo de café e da criação dele e de seus outros quatro irmãos: Maria Rita, José (que morreu com três anos de idade), Marieta e Serafim. Eles vão morar em outra propriedade da família, a Fazenda Boa Vista, próxima a Juiz de Fora, também no estado de Minas Gerais.

Em Oliveira, teve convivência direta com três tios maternos, Cícero, Olegário e Carlos. Os dois primeiros eram advogados formados em São Paulo e incentivaram o sobrinho a se dedicar aos estudos. Porém, o último, era formado em Medicina e organizou uma casa de saúde na cidade. As ações desse tio o influenciaram para seguir a carreira médica.

Aos oito anos de idade e já alfabetizado, foi matriculado no Colégio São Luís, dirigido por jesuítas, em Itu, interior de São Paulo, mas foge do internato em 1888, para ir ao encontro da mãe, em Juiz de Fora, ao saber que os escravos recém-libertados estariam depredando fazendas. A punição para essa fuga foi a expulsão de Chagas do Colégio pelos padres jesuítas.

Então Chagas começou a estudar no Colégio São Francisco, em São João del-Rei, Minas Gerais, fundado pelo padre João Batista do Sacramento. Esse padre influenciou-o para ser médico, com os conhecimentos em história natural, botânica e zoologia. Após encerrar os estudos secundários, Chagas ingressou no curso preparatório para a Escola de Minas de Ouro Preto por vontade de sua mãe, que gostaria de vê-lo formado em Engenharia. Aí, com a companhia de colegas do curso, aderiu a vida boêmia. Adoentado, em 1896, depois de reprovado nos exames, volta para Oliveira.

Durante o tempo de recuperação em sua cidade-natal, seu tio Carlos fortaleceu a vontade de Chagas em ser médico e ajudou-o a vencer a barreira de sua mãe, que acabou aceitando a opção de seu filho. Seguiu então para São Paulo, para obter os diplomas básicos exigidos para matrícula no curso médico. Conseguindo tal certificado, em fevereiro de 1897, segue para o Rio de Janeiro a fim de entrar à Faculdade de Medicina.

Aos 18 anos, passou a cursar a Faculdade de Medicina do Rio de Janeiro, onde este mesmo tio trabalhava, em abril de 1897. Tal faculdade vivia uma “revolução pasteuriana“, pois havia adquirido as teses de Louis Pasteur e estava passando por um processo de renovação. Chagas, assim, também leva essas idéias adiante em seu trabalho. Ao longo do curso, dois professores exerceram grande influência em sua carreira: Miguel Couto, que apresentou a Chagas as noções e as práticas da clínica moderna e com quem passaria a ter uma estreita amizade; e Francisco Fajardo, que colocou Chagas no estudo de doenças tropicais, especialmente da malária, e que seria de grande importância para sua futura carreira. Assim, esses dois professores apresentaram os dois caminhos que se abriram para Chagas no decorrer de seu curso médico: a clínica e a pesquisa científica.

Concluído o curso, em 1902, para elaborar sua tese (pré-requisito para o exercício da medicina), dirigiu-se ao Instituto Soroterápico Federal, na fazenda de Manguinhos, levando uma carta de apresentação de seu professor, Miguel Couto, a Oswaldo Cruz, diretor do Instituto, onde teve seu primeiro contato com aquele que veio a trabalhar, ser seu grande mestre e tornar-se amigo.

Aceito e orientado por Oswaldo Cruz, Chagas começou a trabalhar no Instituto Soroterápico Federal (que após 1908 passou-se a chamar Instituto Oswaldo Cruz) e elege como tema de sua tese o ciclo evolutivo da malária na corrente sangüínea. Assim, em março de 1903, estava concluído a sua tese, o “Estudo Hematológico do Impaludismo” e em maio do mesmo ano terminou seus estudos. Oswaldo Cruz, que assumiu simultaneamente a direção de Manguinhos e a Diretoria Geral de Saúde Pública, nomeou Chagas como médico do instituto, cargo que foi recusado por preferir, em 1904 trabalhar como clínico no Hospital de Jurujuba, em Niterói. Nesse ano instalou seu laboratório particular no Rio de Janeiro e casou-se com Íris Lobo, que dessa união nasceriam seus dois filhos, Evandro (em 1905) e Carlos Filho (em 1910); ambos seguiriam a carreira médica do pai.

-------------------- Carlos Chagas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas, or Carlos Chagas (July 9, 1879, Oliveira, Minas Gerais, Brazil – November 8, 1934, Rio de Janeiro), was a Brazilian physician. He discovered Chagas disease, also called American trypanosomiasis in 1909, while working at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro. Chagas’ work is unique in the history of medicine, because he was the only researcher so far to describe completely a new infectious disease: its pathogen, vector (Triatominae), host, clinical manifestations and epidemiology.

Early life

Chagas was the son of José Justiniano das Chagas, a coffee farmer from Minas Gerais, and Mariana Cândida Chagas. After his secondary studies at Itu, São Paulo and São João del Rei, he enrolled in the School of Mining Engineering at Ouro Preto, but changed to the Medical School of Rio de Janeiro in 1897, influenced by his uncle, who was a physician and owner of a hospital at that city. He graduated in 1902 and got his M.D. in the following year with a thesis on the hematology of malaria, working at the new medical research institute created by noted physician and, later, friend and colleague, Oswaldo Cruz (1872-1917).

After a brief stint as a medical practitioner in the hinterlands, Chagas accepted a position in the port authority of Santos, São Paulo, with the mission of fighting the malaria epidemic which was affecting its workers. There he introduced an innovation, which consisted in using pyrethrum, an insecticide, to disinfect households, with surprising success. His published work on this method served as the basis of prevention of malaria all over the world and was adopted by a service of the Ministry of Health in Brazil which was established expressly for this purpose.

The discovery of Chagas disease

In 1906, Chagas returned to Rio de Janeiro and joined the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, where he remained working for the rest of his life. In 1909, he was sent by the Institute to the small city of Lassance, near the São Francisco River, to combat a malaria outbreak among the workers of a new railroad to the city of Belém in the Amazon. He stayed there for the next two years and soon was able to observe the peculiar infestation of the rural houses with a large hematophagous insect of the genus Triatoma, a kind of "assassin bug" or "kissing" bug (barbeiro or "barber" in Portuguese, so called because it sucked the blood at night by biting the faces of its victims). He discovered that the intestines of these insects harbored flagellate protozoa, a new species of the Trypanosoma genre, and was able to prove experimentally that it could be transmitted to marmoset monkeys which were bitten by the infected bug. Chagas named this new parasite Trypanosoma cruzi [1] in honor of Oswaldo Cruz and later that year as Schizotrypanum cruzi [2] and then once again as Trypanosoma cruzi [3].)

Chagas suspected that the parasite could cause human disease, due to the prevalence of the insect vector in human households and its habit of biting people, so he took blood samples and, in April 23, 1909, discovered for the first time the same Trypanosoma parasite in the blood of a three year-old girl. He also observed parasitic inclusions in the brain and myocardium which would explain some of the clinical manifestations in diseased people and closed the proposed life cycle of the parasite by suggesting that the armadillo could be its natural reservoir. To complete his work on the pathology of the new disease, Chagas described 27 cases of the acute form of the disease and performed more than 100 autopsies on patients who exhibited the chronic form.

His description of the new disease was to become a classic in medicine and brought him domestic and international distinction. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and received the prestigious Schaudinn Prize for the best work in protozoology and tropical medicine, on June 22, 1912. The contenders were luminaries such as Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), Emile Roux (1853-1933), Ilya Mechnikov (1845-1916), Charles Laveran (1845-1922), Charles Nicolle (1866-1936) and Sir William Boog Leishman (1865-1926), several of them who had already received or would receive the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Chagas was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, in 1913 and 1921, but never received the award.

Chagas was also the first to discover the parasitic fungal genus Pneumocystis in the lungs of his Trypanosome-experimentally infected animals. At the time he did not recognize it as a separate organism and therefore he described his genus Schizotrypanum to accommodate both life-cycles that he illustrated beautifully. But, his discovery led others to further investigate and describe Pneumocystis as a distinct genus, which is now known to be a fungus. Chagas, followed the literature closely and quickly confirmed the distinction, whereupon he again adopted the name Trypanosoma cruzi that he had originally coined [3]. Pneumocystis is now linked to another disease, PCP or Pneumocystis pneumonia caused by one species (P. jirovecii) but the original Pneumocystis species seen by Chagas in Guinea pigs has not yet been named as a separate species.

Later life

After the death of his mentor in 1917, Chagas accepted Cruz's directorship of the Institute, a post he held until his death in 1934. From 1920 to 1924 he became the director of the Department of Health in Brazil. Chagas was very active in organizing special health care and prevention services and campaigns for the Spanish flu epidemics, sexually transmitted diseases, leprosy, pediatrics, tuberculosis and rural endemic diseases. He created a nursing school and was the founder of the concept of sanitary medicine, the first chair of tropical medicine and the graduate study of hygiene.

Chagas' discovery was recognized at home and abroad as one of the most important achievements in parasitology. He was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (in 1913 and 1921), but he never received the award, most probably due to the strong political stance against it by the Brazilian medical establishment at the time. Chagas' main foe was Dr. Júlio Afrânio Peixoto, the leader of eugenics in Brazil, who held many academical titles and was fluent in several foreign languages. Afrânio Peixoto campaigned against Carlos Chagas and his great work, and nobody was granted the Noble prize in medicine in 1921 when Carlos Chagas was the only real candidate for the prize.

Chagas died in Rio de Janeiro from an acute heart infarction at only 55 years of age.

One of his sons, Dr. Carlos Chagas Filho (1910-2000), became an eminent and internationally recognized scientist in the field of neurophysiology and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Another son, Evandro Chagas (1905-1940), was also a physician and researcher in tropical medicine, who died accidentally at 35 years of age. His name is honoured by the important biomedical institution Instituto Evandro Chagas, in Belém, state of Pará.

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Carlos Chagas's Timeline

1879
July 9, 1879
Oliveira, Minas Gerais, Brazil
1904
July, 1904
Age 24
Juiz de Fora,MG,Brazil
1934
November 8, 1934
Age 55
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil