Research Papers

Scope and Content

The majority of the research was conducted in Uganda at Entebbe County (1946-1960), Zika forest (1955-1965), Mpanga Forest (1958-1959) and Bwamba (1942-1948). Between 1940-1954 there was also research conducted in Kisumu, Kenya. The research papers have been constructed mostly from mosquito catch records made by Alec Haddow and other employees based at the Yellow Fever Research Institute, later renamed East African Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda. They contain vast amounts of data for each catch including its duration, the specific time when a species is caught, the total number of species caught and their classification, weather conditions, vegetation and environmental conditions. Mosquito catches were conducted from constructed platforms each identified by a number, which also represented their height in feet from the ground.

Haddow's research led to the isolation of the yellow fever virus from Aedes simpsoni and identification of the previously unknown Bunyamwera virus (see GB 248 DC 068/2/7). He pioneered the 24-hour catch method in which he was able to study the daily behaviour of mosquitos. This new method of conducting a catch was being experimented with internationally, however to date Haddow's method was the most successful at gaining results. The use of this technique lead to the first isolation of the Zika virus in a mosquito (see GB 248 DC 068/2/20). Data analysis revealed the time when virus carrying mosquitoes were more prominent in number and their preferred environmental conditions.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alec Haddow originally went to Africa on the suggestion of Professor Patrick Alfred Buxton CMG FRS FLS. He served an apprenticeship under Percy Cyril Claude Garnham FRS CMG and between 1938-1941 was employed as a Medical Research Council junior fellow in Tropical Medicine. Alec was employed as a staff member 1942-1949 by the East African Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda. His role was funded between 1945-1949 by the International Health Division, Rockefeller Foundation. For the duration of Alec's research in East Africa up to 1965, he would be be based at the Institute. He was employed by the Institute as an Epidemiologist from 1950-1952. Having served as the Acting Director in 1952, Alec Haddow then became the Institute's Director in 1953 and was such until he left for new employment with the University of Glasgow in 1965. The Institute maintained a commitment to testing and distributing the yellow fever vaccine to a significant population on the African continent. To this end Alec Haddow spent his time conducting mass mosquito catches in an attempt to isolate and identify the yellow fever virus or new and emerging insect-borne viruses. His work examined the transmission cycle of viruses from mosquito-to-human, mosquito-to-primate and primat- to-human.

As part of her Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Training Internship with Archives & Special Collections, Eleanor Tiplady wrote a report on Haddow's papers in relation to the Zika virus. The information Tiplady gathered from Haddow's research papers has been used below the record descriptions.

Related Material

See also GB 248 DC 068/1 for Haddow's curriculum vitae; GB 248 DC 068/3 for Haddow's publications, which used data from his research papers; GB 248 DC 068/4 for the East African Research Institute Annual Reports, which give detailed context and purpose behind the Institutes activities; GB 248 DC 068/5/1 for photographic slides which visualise his mosquito research; GB 248 DC 068/5/3/14-15 & DC 068/5/3/46-47 for photographic prints of "platform 82" where mosquito catches were conducted; GB 248 DC 068/6/7 and the DC 068 deposit file for correspondence where Haddow contextualised his research papers; GB 248 DC 068/6/10 Symposium on Health and Medicine in Africa during the colonial period for Haddow's personal reflections on working in East Africa; and the Alexander Haddow Historical/Subject file for photocopied diary extracts that record his experiences in East Africa, May 1948.