What it the discovery of cholera ?

1 Answer | Add Yours

bohemianteacher4u's profile pic

bohemianteacher4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

John Snow, a scientist, and physician, began mapping outbreaks of cholera as early as 1853 in London, England.  He developed papers and information about cholera in 1853.  Because of his interest in infectious diseases and cholera, he is considered as one of the initial discoverers of cholera.

"For his persistent efforts to determine how cholera was spread and for the statistical mapping methods he initiated, John Snow is widely considered to be the father of [modern] epidemiology."

Cholera was first identified by Filippo Pacini, scientist, in Pistoia, Italy.  Pacini attended medical school and became a physician.  One of his specialty areas was using a microscope in medicine.  In 1854, Italy and parts of Europe experienced a Cholera outbreak that led to an epidemic. 

Pacini began to conduct autopsies on the people who had died from cholera.  He used his microscope to look at the intestines and other tissue samples from the victims.  While viewing the samples on the slides, he saw a comma-shaped bacillus.  He named the Bacillus, Vibrio.  In 1854, Pacini shared his findings in a medical paper on his microscopic findings from pathogens related to cholera.  His studies emerged at the time period John Snow, who was initially believed to have discovered cholera, presented his findings on cholera.  However, John Snow was not likely to have any idea of Pacini’s discovery nor Pacini having any idea about Snow’s discovery, surmising that both men played a role in the discovery of cholera.

Pacini continued to write on cholera as he learned more about the way in which cholera caused loss of electrolytes because the human body suffered the loss of body fluid.  He had explained to the community that cholera was highly infectious.

Another scientist, unaware of Pacini’s discovery or Snow’s, made the same discovery 30 years later.  Unknown to Robert Koch, scientist, two previous scientists, John Snow and Filippo Pacini had discovered cholera.  None of the scientific experts was aware of the discovery of the other scientists.  Because Koch’s findings became well-known and accepted by the scientific community, he was credited for many years as having discovered cholera.  Eventually, information about the other two scientists emerged, and when carefully assessed, Pacini’s theories about cholera were accepted replacing Kock’s theories on cholera.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,926 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question