|Contribution||Showed (1865-69) that tuberculosis was due to an (unseen) inoculable agent.|
|Notes||Jean-Antoine Villemin, physician. Beginning in 1865, showed that tuberculosis could be induced in rabbits and other animals by inoculating material from human cases, and also could be passed from cow to rabbit etc. Presented paper to Acad. Med. in 1867. Poorly received, despite clear evidence that TB was transmissable by transfer of an unseen agent. Published book in 1868. Cummins (below) says Villemin called the unseen agent a "germ." According to Brock, Koch knew of Villemin's work when beginning his search for the causative agent of tuberculosis. Villemin's work was eclipsed by Koch's later discovery of the germ. Villemin was bitterly disappointed, his sentiments being complicated by Franco-German animosity in the post-war years as well as Franco-German scientific rivalry; see S. L. Cummins in Science, Medicine and History [E. A. Underwood, ed.] Oxford Univ. Press, 1953, Vol. 2, p 332-340). See also entries for Cohnheim, Klencke. Garrison quotes Villemin: "the phthisical soldier is to his messmate what the glandered horse is to its yokefellow". Ralph H. Major's translation of an excerpt from the 1868 French publication appears in his "Classic Descriptions of Disease" Thomas, 1945.|
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