Introduction to the Microbial World; History of Microbiology
Date: March 17, 2013
In response to the web site article about Edward Jenner, I believe the author paid an over emphasis on the how the discovery of the small pox vaccine was the greatest of public health achievements of all times. But I am of a different opinion. I believe that despite this great contribution, Edward Jenner does not deserve the greater credit in his discovery compared to both Louis Pasteur and Janssen & Hans. One thing I truly agree with is that the discovery by Edward Jenner was timely as small pox is now a thing of the past and the many deaths associated with the disease are now forgotten. However, refusing to give even bigger credit to the discovery of the microscope by Janssen and Hans.
Louis Pasteur is one of the fathers of modern medicine. Without his work and discoveries in the field of microbiology it is doubtful that we would have the world we have today. His work identified the causes of many diseases that were responsible for the massive child and infant mortality figures of previous centuries, and led directly to vaccination and the eradication of many diseases. Pasteur started his work on cholera, a disease responsible for much mortality at the time. Whilst growing bacterium on eggs he grew a faulty batch that did not infect the chickens he was working with. Upon reusing these chickens with fresh bacteria he could not infect the chickens. He had accidentally discovered vaccination. The weakened bacteria had induced a mild disease that prevented the chickens from catching the full disease. His assistant had tried to discard the faulty batch but Pasteur's scientific mind had decided to discover what was going on.
In this he was following up on the work of Edward Jenner in the 1790's on smallpox. The difference was that Jenner had found that one disease (cowpox) prevented another (smallpox)....
Aberth, J., (2005). The Black Death of 1348-1350. Palgrave Macmillan. New York
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