1899 - 1800United States of America

Robert Koch’s discovery of the tubercle bacillus in 1882 was a major event in the history of medicine, a turning point in our understanding and conquest of that deadly disease which had plagued mankind for millenia. After centuries of speculation as to the possible infectious nature of tuberculosis, Koch proved conclusively that the cause of the disease was infection by a specific micro-organism which he isolated. In tuberculosis, both seed and soil play their part, but without the seed — the tubercle bacillus — there is no disease.



  • Sakula A. Robert Koch (1843–1910): founder of the science of bacteriology and discoverer of the tubercle bacillus. A study of his life and work. Br J Dis Chest. 1979 Oct;73(4):389–394.
  • Sakula A. Baroness Burdett-Coutts’ garden party: the International Medical Congress, London, 1881. Med Hist. 1982 Apr;26(2):183–190.