Original Research

Sir Arnold Theiler and the discovery of anaplasmosis : a centennial perspective : tick-borne diseases

G.H. Palmer
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 76, No 1 | a68 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v76i1.68 | © 2009 G.H. Palmer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2009 | Published: 10 September 2009

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G.H. Palmer,

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Abstract

Sir Arnold Theiler's research in 1908/09 led to the discovery of the first rickettsial pathogen, Anaplasma marginale, and set the stage for his development and implementation of an effective live vaccine based on a less virulent strain, A. marginale ss. centrale. His 1910 report, describing A. marginale, is among the classic monographs in infectious disease research, presenting not only observations in exacting detail but also highlighting the deductive reasoning leading to association of a new pathogen with a specific disease. With a centennial perspective and both conceptual frameworks and molecular tools unimaginable in Theiler's time, the significance of several observations in the original report - cyclic bacteremia, strain superinfection, and taxonomic position - is now clear and highlight the broad applicability of key principles of pathogen biology.

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