The Microbe of Rabies

Originally published in the Eastern Medical Journal on July 1, 1886
In view of the great interest now taken in this subject in consequence of the brilliant investigations of Pasteur, I think it desirable to take an early opportunity of stating that I have found the microbe which appears clearly to constitute the virus of this disease. It is a micrococcus, not very minute, and of the usual form. It stains, however, with some difficulty, and this accounts for ! its having hitherto escaped observation. In the cases of dogs which I have as yet examined, its principal seat is evidently the central canal of the spinal cord and medulla oblongata; thence it pervades the other tissues of the central nervous system, occurring (sometimes in vast masses) around the walls of the blood vessels, and in some cases within the vessels among the red blood-corpuscles. In the cortex of the hemispheres I have found it, but in very small numbers, and, so far, only in the perivascular and pericellular lymph spaces. In the cerebellum I have not found it at all, neither have I as yet succeeded in finding it in the salivary glands.
I shall shortly publish the methods by which it may be stained with certainty. I must, however, state that it does not stain by hematoxin, either with or without a mordant, as asserted by Fol. I have repeated his methods carefully. Neither does it occur within nerve fibres, as he states ; and lastly, it is fully three times the dimensions which he gives. I may add that it does not occur in the same situation, treated by the same methods, in normal animals. In the one case of a rabid dog, which I had examined to control my previous observations, the tissues were placed in alcohol so shortly after death as to preclude the possibility of the occurrence of septic organisms. In addition to which all saprophytes, as far as yet observed, stain very readily with the usual aniline dyes, which this microbe does not. I must point out, in justice to the genius of Pasteur, that these observations on the occurrence of the microbe go far to confirm his statement of the seat of the virus; it may further afford a means of diagnosis in any doubtful case. Preparations of the microbe were shown at the meeting of the Royal Microscopical Society on the 9th inst.

Check Also

Pasteur conducting germ theory experiment in his laboratory

Louis Pasteur, the Father of Immunology?

Originally published April 10, 2012 by the US National Library of Medicine INTRODUCTION As a …

Leave a Reply