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March 2, 1889


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1889;XII(9):298-300. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.02400860010001c

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From the time of the first discovery of bacteria by Leeuwenhoeck during his examinations of saliva in 1675, bacteriology made no progress until about the middle of the present century, when Ehrenberg described several varieties of microörganisms, and Cohn, recognizing in these minute beings the lowest forms of the vegetable kingdom, classified them into bacilli, micrococci, and spirilla.

Although Pollender, in 1849, described fine rod-like formations as occurring in the blood of animals dead of anthrax, to Davaine (1863) belongs the honor of having first proven the causal connection of these bacteria with the disease, and we must therefore recognize in the latter the first discoverer of a pathogenetic microörganism. Then followed the well-known experiments of Pasteur and his school on anthrax and chicken- cholera, but still the advances of this new science were slow. Bacteria had now been discovered in the blood and secretions of diseased animals, but they

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