New wings in the Hospital de Noirs, Leopoldville, circa 1920s
In 1920, when a severe outbreak of sleeping sickness broke out in the Belgian Congo, Dr. Pearce, then 35 years old and attracted by the adventures of field research, volunteered to go alone to Leopoldville to test tryparsamide as a treatment for this disease. She studied the effect of each dose of tryparsamide on more than seventy patients and observed the complete eradication of the parasite in the blood and nervous system within a few weeks of the treatment with no side effects. Dr. Pearce contribution made her well known internationally. Her work impressed the Belgian officials, and she was awarded the Ancient Order of the Crown in 1921.
Louise Pierce, sleeping sickness, Belgian Congo