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Smith, Theobald

fever animal diseases cattle

(1859–1934) US microbiologist: studied modes of transmission of cattle diseases.

Smith graduated in medicine in 1883; he chose not to enter medical practice but to move into veterinary work in the new US Bureau of Animal Industry founded to combat infectious diseases in farm animals. At his parents’ home German was spoken, and young Smith’s fluency in it gave him the advantage of being able to read the reports of . Smith became the leading American bacteriologist of his generation and the first of distinction not to be trained in Europe. His successful studies on the nature and control of animal diseases began with his work on hog cholera in 1889; in 1896 he distinguished between bovine and human tubercle bacilli; and in 1893 he published his work on Texas cattle fever, showing that it is transmitted by a tick. The complex cycle of transmission he had carefully worked out was doubted by many, but was never refuted; it led both to control of the fever and to easier acceptance, within 10 years, of ideas on the place of the mosquito in human malaria and yellow fever. In 1895 he moved to Harvard and in 1914 to the Rockefeller Institute, developing his work in animal pathology and in parasitology. He was an austere, hardworking and self-effacing person; many of his peers thought him comparable as a scientist with Koch, but he carried little fame in the minds of the mass of his countrymen.

Smith, Tubby(1955–) - Basketball coach, Chronology [next] [back] Smith, Stephen(c. 1795–1873) - Entrepreneur, abolitionist, Chronology

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