Louis Pasteur in Public Health
Samantha R. James
December 20, 2011
Louis Pasteur in Public Health
Louis Pasteur is a man of many talents; his greatest gift was his intelligence and patience without it the medical field and the public health system would not be where it is today. Through his patience and diligence Pasteur was able to make several advances in chemistry, microbiology, immunizations and preservations. In 1857 he developed the Germ Theory of fermentation and putrefaction, these theories assisted in the surgical revolution of antiseptics developed by Joseph Lister. He has laid the foundations for epidemiology and the defining rules for personnel hygiene. Many people believed that his theories were not true and hoped that he would fail however time and time again he proved them wrong. Through his studies and research Pasteur was able to positively impact the nineteenth century by the development of theories such as the Germ Theory and vaccines for several diseases such as anthrax and rabies, which led to the first successful vaccination of humans. He has shown how pathogens could be passed from animals to humans. Louis Pasteur was born in Dôle, France on December 27, 1822; as the son of a tanner his father wanted him to get the education that he did not receive. He attended school at “Ѐcole Primaire and later went to the Collège d’Arboix but did not finish due to be home sick. In 1842 he went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Science at Collège Royal de Besançon, from there he attended Ѐcole Normale to earn his Doctorate in Science focusing on physics and chemistry. (Toledo-Pereyra, 2009). In 1849 he married Marie Laurent; she bore him five children through the years, three of the passed away before reaching maturity. Even though Pasteur has been recognized for great accomplishments in the fields of physics, chemistry and microbiology he did not prosper from it. He taught at several colleges as Chemist, and later moved on to being a director or an administrator of the Department of Science. He is one of the founding fathers of microbiology. According to “Discovery of Pasteurization” (2010), “Pasteur laid the foundation for all microbiological techniques through his research on Lactic and alcoholic fermentation and defined these principles: All fermentation is caused by a microorganism, there is a particular ferment for every given fermentation, a sterile culture is required for ferment growth, the medium has to be seeded with absolute ferment particles” (Alcoholic Fermentation). Through his studies of fermentation Pasteur was able to denounce the theory of spontaneous generation. “Spontaneous generation is the supposed development of living organisms from non-living matter.” (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Ed.). The denouncement of spontaneous generation and studies of fermentation led to the sterilization of milk, wine and beer, which resulted in improved taste and quality; but also prevented thousands of unnecessary deaths. This process was later named after him and was called pasteurization which is the heating of beverages or food to kill living organisms to prevent spoilage. In 1857 he developed the Germ Theory of fermentation; later named the Germ Theory of disease, this led to Joseph Lister’s development of antiseptics that is now used for surgeries. As Pasteur continued to study micro-organisms he began to take on animal diseases. Through his studies he was able to develop several vaccines and eradicate rabies, also he was able to successful vaccinate human’s from the rabies disease. He was first called upon to investigate the disease of silkworms, which almost devastated the silkworm industry. “His studies showed that the worms disease was caused by shiny corpuscles”; an unattached body cell, “which he later discovered was hereditary and contagious,” (Discovery of Pasteurization, 2010) and soon began suggesting new hygienic measures to...
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