Cases of gangrene accompanied by gas formation in the tissues have been observed for a good many years. Such cases are most common after tearing and lacerating wounds, compound fractures with extensive injury of the tissues, though they may follow slight cuts, abrasions or puncture wounds.
The condition was first accurately described in 1853 by Maisonneuve,1 who called it "gaseous phlegmon."
The proof of the infectious nature of the process we owe to Bottini, who in 1875 by inoculation experiments successfully showed this characteristic. While the disease was recognized as an infectious process, it was not until the work of Pasteur in 1877 that any definite etiological factor was described. He isolated from such a case an organism called by him vibrion septique, but later given the name of Bacillus edematis maligni by Koch and Gaffky. This was the first pathogenic anaerobe discovered. This organism was thought to
ROBERT GOLDSBOROUGH OWEN. EMPHYSEMATOUS GANGRENE DUE TO A MEMBER OF THE COLON GROUP. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1910;V(2):102–108. doi:10.1001/archinte.1910.00050240011002