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Volume 20, Number 9—September 2014
Etymologia

Etymologia: Bacillus anthracis

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Bacillus anthracis [bə-silʹəs an-thraʹsis]

A large, gram-positive, rod (bacillus), Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax (Greek for “coal”), named for the black lesions of cutaneous anthrax. In 1850, Rayer and Davaine discovered the rods in the blood of anthrax-infected sheep, setting the stage for Koch to link the disease to the bacterium in 1876, after he performed a series of experiments that fulfilled what came to be known as Koch’s postulates. This was among the first times a microorganism was conclusively linked with a specific disease.

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References

  1. Koch  R. The etiology of anthrax, based on the life history of Bacillus anthracis [in German]. Beiträge zur Biologie der Pflanzen. 1876;2:277310.
  2. Martin  GJ, Friedlander  AM. Bacillus anthracis (anthrax). In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s principles and practice of infectious diseases. Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, editors. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2010. p. 2715–25.
  3. Morens  DM. Characterizing a “new” disease: epizootic and epidemic anthrax, 1769–1780. Am J Public Health. 2003;93:88693 and .DOIPubMed
  4. Schultz  MG. Robert Koch [photo quiz]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011;17:5489 .PubMed

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2009.et2009

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Table of Contents – Volume 20, Number 9—September 2014

Page created: August 04, 2014
Page updated: August 04, 2014
Page reviewed: August 04, 2014
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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