1899 - 1800United States of America

In 1898 Theobald Smith in Boston, USA, showed that the bovine bacillus could be clearly differentiated from the human variety both in its microscopic and cultural characteristics and in the disease it produced in different animals. It was thus apparent that humans could acquire tuberculosis particularly of the gut, by drinking cow’s milk infected with this organism.

Smith also described morphological differences. His work on bovine tuberculosis opposed two misconceptions: the dangerous and widespread public belief that bovine tuberculosis could not be transmitted to man; and Koch’s insistence that there was no difference between bovine organism and that transmitted from man to man. By 1901, Smith’s extensive data convinced Koch.



  • Grove, D. I. (2014). Tapeworms, lice, and prions – a compendium of unpleasant infections (Vol. 1). New York, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • D.H. Bergey, “Early Instructors in Bacteriology in the United States”, J. of Bact. 2 (1917): 595 – 601.