Excerpt from The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 1884, Vol. 5: A Monthly Journal, Under Episcopal Sanction
The minute organisms, or microbes, as they have come to be called, which cause infection and contagion, may not have been originally so fatal, but may have acquired increased virulence by transmission. This theory is ren dered probable by the history of Fowl Cholera - a disease, so called, not from its resemblance to the cholera which attacks mankind, but from the fact, that it prevailed in France simultaneously with the latter. Toussaint, a distinguished French investigator, asserts, and seems to have proved, that it has its origin in an organism found, in common with others, in ordinary putrefaction. This microbe, he says, is swallowed by the fowl with its food, is absorbed, or inoculated, owing, perhaps to the presence of some accidental abrasion of the mucous membrane, is multiplied within the body, and, eventually being got rid of, is swallowed by other fowl with theirlfood; just as typhoid fever is propagated amongst us; and, after having been so transmitted, or cultivated, several times, eventually acquires enormous virulence. This, it may be said, is mere theory. Koch, another and more distinguished scientist, supplies the proof. This greatest, perhaps, of living scientific explorers, who, not long since, was an unknown medical practitioner in a remote part of Prussia, and whom the beneficent despotism of Bismarck invested with supreme power in Berlin, and lately sent from Germany to Egypt, and from Egypt to India, to study cholera: he supplies the missing link in the chain of evidence. He found that by injecting a single drop of putrifying matter into the circulation of a mouse, death ensued in from 40 to 60 hours, and the blood was found teeming with minute organisms, termed vibrios. Other observers, following up the inquiry, inoculated a rabbit with a few drops of putrifying matter, and the blood was found filled with microbes of a different kind. By repeated cultivations, as the experiments were designated, these microbes were found' to acquire deadly virulence. Thus.
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