Who 'discovered' the cholera bacterium?

Dave Walker dave at diwalk.demon.co.uk
Sat Mar 29 05:47:08 EST 1997


I was reading an article recently (ref. below) about the history of
cholera and was interested to read that the cholera bacterium was first
observed and named 'cholerigenic vibrios' by Filippo Pacini an Italian
anatomist in 1854 ie well before Robert Koch's discovery in 1883. 

I gather Koch was the first to actually culture and isolate the
bacterium and showed that it's presence in humans led to cholera. But
given Pacini's previous work why doesn't Pacini get at least some of the
credit for being the discoverer ... the chap doesn't seem to get a
mention in the large encyclopaedias I've checked.

Just curious! 


Dave Walker 

Reference: Medical and Health Annual 1993 (Pub. Encyclopaedia
Britannica) Article p72-95. 'In the Time of Cholera' by M Claeson MD
(WHO) and R J Waldman MD (epidemiologist).
(The article states 'Koch's findings, however, were not original. Rather
they were rediscoveries of work carried out by others.' and goes on to
describe the work of Pacini and John Snow in England).

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