Classics in Dermatology
Sporotrichosis Infection on Mines of the Witwatersrand

Diane Quintal


Background: Our knowledge of skin disease is often based on fortuitous situations that have provided opportunities for observation and study of the disease. One of these diseases is sporotrichosis.

Objective: This article examines a symposium published in 1947 by the Transvaal Chamber of Mines in South Africa. It reviews the approach taken in the investigation of a large outbreak of sporotrichosis in the mine workers.

Conclusion: The investigation of this outbreak has contributed significantly to our present day knowledge of sporotrichosis, the causative organism, its mode of spread, and its clinical features. It is also a striking example of meticulous scientific research and observation.


Antécédents: Nos connaissances des maladies de la peau proviennent souvent de situations fortuites qui ont permis l’observation et l’étude de la maladie. Une de ces maladies est la sporotrichose.

Objectif: Examiner un symposium publié en 1947 par le Transvaal Chamber of Mines en Afrique du Sud, et faire la revue de l’approche prise dans l’investigation d’une épidémie de sporotrichose parmi les mineurs.

Conclusion: L’étude de cette épidémie a contribué grandement à améliorer nos connaissances de cette maladie, c’est-à-dire, le microbe, son mode de transmission et les aspects cliniques. Il s’agit d’un bel example d’investigation scientifique et d’observation méticuleuses.

Received 2/23/99. Accepted for publication 4/14/99.

Division of Dermatology, University of Ottawa School of Medicine, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Reprint requests: Diane Quintal, MD, FRCPC, Suite 403, 595 Montreal Road, Ottawa, ON Canada K1K 4L2

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JCMS 4(1) Contents