The Infections in the History of Medicine

Historical insights into tuberculosis
Sabbatani Sergio
The author presents the ideas of Girolamo Fracastoro, an Italian scientist from Verona, who postulated in 1546 that tuberculosis was caused by “seminaria contagionum”, which were invisible but somehow living and transmissible, that harboured a fondness for those who were constitutionally receptive. This was followed by a major discussion, but the official scientific world did not understand the real importance of the revolutionary idea. Nevertheless, during the 17th and 18th centuries in Italy, but also in France and Spain, the first measures to reduce the spread of tubercular disease were adopted. These public health measures were extended with some difficulty, but were mostly abandoned at the end of 18th century, before the beginning and the development of microbiology as a science. The author presents the more successful guidelines against tuberculosis proposed at that time.

Page 284-291 - Vol.12 N. 4 - 2004