When Was Typhoid Fever Discovered

When Was Typhoid Fever Discovered ?

According to historical records, a plague in 430-426 B.C. killed around one-third of the population of Athens, causing the shift of power from Athens to Sparta. This plague is now believed to typhoid fever by some people. This is debated by scientists and academics.

The fact remains that a disease very similar to typhoid fever has been present for centuries and has been described by Hippocrates, where he mentions that Emperor Augustus was treated by a Romanian physician, Antonius Musa, after the emperor became ill with a disease that modern academic believe to be typhoid fever.

However, the credit of discovering typhoid fever should go to Thomas Willis, who described the symptoms of the disease in detail through his publication in 1659, which was translated into English in 1684. Willis described the various symptoms present during the first week of the disease, the duration of the disease, severity, and relapses after the treatment was suppose to be cured. He also described the way the disease had to be handled in the second and third week.

The reason that Willis gets the credit for discovering typhoid fever is that his diagnosis of the disease was done based only on clinical symptoms. The term typhoid was coined by French physician Pierre Louis in 1829 to distinguish the disease from typhus. However, it was Louis' student, William Gerhardt, who identified the distinguishing characteristics between typhoid and typhus.

William Budd was the first one to figure out that Salmonella typhi bacterium was transmitted through fecal oral route in 1858.

The fact that the disease has been prevalent for centuries, one cannot say when was typhoid fever discovered. Every scientist and physician played his role in adding useful information about typhoid fever, as we know it today.

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When Was Typhoid Fever Discovered