Early History of the Atypical Mycobacteria

  • John S. Chapman
Part of the Topics in Infectious Disease book series (CTID)


Almost a hundred years ago Koch described the human strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Within a short time, the bovine tubercle bacillus had been identified as a separate, specific organism, and within a few years, the avian mycobacterium had also been isolated and described. By 1895, not only were these organisms well known to bacteriologists, but in the course of their work, they had encountered many strains that did not coincide with descriptions of the original specific acid-fast bacilli. Investigators of the period undertook the same examinations of problems of origin, mutation, transmissibility, infectivity, and pathogenesis that their successors were to take up 50 years later. It will be evident from the account that follows that bacteriologists turned at once to the environment, not only as a source for the various strains but also as an intermediate habitat of tubercle bacilli.


Early History Avian Mycobacterium Human Material Mycobacterium Smegmatis Mycobacterium Bovis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • John S. Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas Southwestern Medical SchoolDallasUSA

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