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February 28, 1966

FERNAND WIDAL (1862-1929)

JAMA. 1966;195(9):776-777. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100090110030

Georges Fernand Isidore Widal was born at Dellys in Algiers, the son of a physician, then medical inspector of the army, and the nephew of Mathieu Hirtz, soon to be appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Strasbourg.1 Widal studied medicine in Paris where the tradition of bedside medicine was firmly established and was complemented by the recent surge in basic science, particularly from the discoveries of Louis Pasteur. Widal's studies were completed in the hospitals of Paris. He took his doctorate at the age of 26, presenting a thesis on the several clinical manifestations of streptococcal infection, which included puerperal phlebitis, endocarditis, and erysipelas. Continuing his academic ties, he was appointed to the professorial group at the age of 32; at 48, he was appointed professor of internal pathology, and seven years later he succeeded to the chair of clinical medicine.

Widal's best known contribution, the [Widal]

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