Our recent ‘Gems from the Collections’ session on breakthroughs and discoveries in public health and tropical medicine got us thinking about some of our smaller collections in the Archives. One of these is the papers of Sir Henry Harold Scott relating to his investigations into vomiting sickness in Jamaica, 1915-1918.
While serving as a government bacteriologist and pathologist in Jamaica, British physician Scott made a significant contribution to the understanding of vomiting sickness. A connection between ackee fruit and vomiting sickness had been noted around the time of Scott’s birth, but his investigations into cases of ackee poisoning raised awareness of the dangers of eating the fruit when it had not been properly ripened, in which state it was later proved to contain the toxins hypoglycin A and hypoglycin B.
Scott went on to become Milner Research Fellow in comparative pathology at the London School of Tropical Medicine and later Director of the Bureau of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases (1935-1942) and President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1943-1945).
The Archives hold a series of letters sent to Scott from individuals who believed they had suffered from vomiting sickness after eating unripe ackee fruit, publications, press cuttings and reports relating to vomiting sickness and ackee poisoning.
If you would like to view or find out more about the Scott collection visit our webpage or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org