A History of Medical Bacteriology and Immunology by W. D. Foster

By W. D. Foster

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Sample text

He was severely bitten and, in consultation with his doctor and a professor of medicine, it was agreed that his death was inevitable. Pasteur was therefore fully justified in trying his prophylactic measure. Joseph Meister was given a subcutaneous injection of cord material which had been dried fifteen days. During the following ten days he received injections of cord material dried for shorter and shorter periods. Meister survived, not only the natural rabies infection acquired from his bites, but, by the end of his course of injections was receiving virus which was actually more virulent than 'street' virus.

Koch obtained his experimental diseases by inoculating a variety of putrid materials into rabbits and mice and obtained six different diseases each caused by its own specific microbe. He produced: i. Septicaemia in mice. This disease, coming on after an incubation period of twenty-four hours, gave a characteristic clinical and pathological picture. It was transmissible from mouse to mouse by the smallest scratch of an infected scalpel. This disease was associated with a minute bacillus in the blood and tissues which, whilst highly virulent for mice, was harmless to rabbits.

This preamble is an attempt to account for Pasteur's 'prepared mind' which chance was soon, dramatically, to favour. The microbe which causes chicken cholera, which we now call Pasteurella septica, had been first seen about 1874 but first adequately described by Perroncito in 1878. In the same year Perroncito's work was confirmed by a young Toulouse veterinarian, H . Toussaint, who had gone further and managed to cultivate the organism using the medium introduced by Pasteur for anthrax, neutralized urine.

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