Early in the 20th century, the State of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil was rife with malaria. So severe was the epidemic that it sickened hundreds of railroad workers, threatening government efforts to expand Brazil's railway system from the mouth of the Amazon River south to Rio de Janeiro. The government needed a malaria mastermind, someone who could halt the spread of disease and help railway construction resume.
Voelker R. A Century After Chagas Disease Discovery, Hurdles to Tackling the Infection Remain. JAMA. 2009;302(10):1045-1047. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1269