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Volume 21, Number 3—March 2015
Etymologia

Etymologia: M. bovis

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M. bovis

From the Latin bos (“ox” or “cow”) Mycobacterium bovis is a virulent bacterial species originally isolated from tubercules in cattle. Robert Koch, who discovered the tubercle bacillus in 1882, believed that M. bovis was not a danger to humans. Theobald Smith and others established beyond doubt that, contrary to Koch’s belief, M. bovis could infect humans but was not the usual source of human infection. In 1908, French scientists Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin chose an M. bovis strain for their work on a tuberculosis vaccine. They repeatedly subcultured the isolate on a mixture of glycerol, potato, and bile for 13 years until it was sufficiently attenuated to be used as a vaccine. The bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine was adopted by the League of Nations as the standard tuberculosis vaccine in 1928 and continues to be used in most developing countries.

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References

  1. LoBue  P. Tuberculosis. In: CDC Health Information for International Travel 2014. New York: Oxford University Press; 2014. p. 310–7.
  2. Schultz  MG. Robert Koch [photo quiz]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011;17:5479 . DOIPubMed
  3. Smith  KC, Orme  IM, Starke  JR. Tuberculosis vaccines. In: Plotkin SA, Orenstein WA, Offit PA, editors. Vaccines. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2013. p. 789–811.

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2103.et2103

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Table of Contents – Volume 21, Number 3—March 2015

Page created: February 24, 2015
Page updated: February 24, 2015
Page reviewed: February 24, 2015
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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