• Hilary Koprowski


When Ajax and Achilles called Hector “a rabid dog” in the Illiad (before 700 B.C.) they referred metaphorically to a condition associated with a disease first mentioned before 1800 B.C. in Mesopotamian “Laws of Eshnunna.” In the course of centuries, Democritus, Aristotle, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Girolamo Fracastoro (who first described the “incurable” course of the disease) and scores of others have studied and described rabies not only because of particular interest in the disease but also because of morbid fascination with this infection to which all warm-blooded animals, including bats, are susceptible. Rabies causes infected animals and sometimes humans to behave in such a frenzied and unnatural way that popular superstition claimed them to be “possessed” by a demon that can be transmitted to new victims. The millennia of rabies studies culminated in the late part of the 19th century with Pasteur, who ordered his disciples to search for rabies protective treatment, since the infection, which was thought then to be transmitted only by bite, presented the unique attribute that the exact time of exposure (day/hour) could be ascertained. This resulted not only in the production of the first vaccine for treatment of humans [1], but also in “dissemination” throughout the world of a score of “Pasteurians” who, in order to perpetuate work of the master, modified in various ways the original version of the vaccine and even modified the original post-exposure treatment by addition of anti-rabies serum [2]. Unfortunately, they contributed little to our scanty knowledge of pathogenesis of rabies.


Rabies Virus Rabies Vaccine Experimental Allergic Encephalitis Rabies Infection Street Rabies Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hilary Koprowski
    • 1
  1. 1.The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and BiologyPhiladelphiaUSA

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