Sunday, March 25, 2018

This Week in Science History: Discovering the Cause of Tuberculosis


On March 24, 1882 Robert Koch (a German physician and scientist) presented his discovery of the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis- the cause of tuberculosis. On that day he said:  "If the importance of a disease for mankind is measured by the number of fatalities it causes, then tuberculosis must be considered much more important than those most feared infectious diseases, plague, cholera and the like. One in seven of all human beings dies from tuberculosis. If one only considers the productive middle-age groups, tuberculosis carries away one-third, and often more." His lecture is considered to be one of the most important in medical history and soon the news of his discovery spread. On April 10, the results were published in a German medical journal, on April 22 in England in The Times, and on May 3 in the US in The New York Times. Robert Koch became known as "The Father of Bacteriology" and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905 "for his investigations and discoveries in relation to tuberculosis.”

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