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To the Editor:—John Henry Richter's article in the January, 1955, issue (Vol. 71, No. 1) of the A. M. A. Archives of Dermatology, written on the occasion of the centenary of Albert Neisser's birth, gives such a distorted and misleading picture of Armauer Hansen's discovery of the lepra bacillus that I have to ask for space in your periodical for a brief account of the facts of the case.
Armauer Hansen described the lepra bacillus in 1873 and published his discovery in 1874. The description of the bacillus is classical in its simplicity and lucidity. He colored the bacillus with osmic acid, other coloring methods being unknown at the time.
Armauer Hansen's view of leprosy as an infectious and not hereditary disease was based on thorough epidemiological investigations in the field. The results of these investigations and the discovery of the lepra bacillus were published in 1874 (Undersøgelser angaaende
Melsom RS. ALBERT NEISSER. AMA Arch Derm. 1955;72(6):578. doi:10.1001/archderm.1955.03730360084014
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