Nature 140, 675-675 (16 October 1937) | doi:10.1038/140675c0

Dr. F. W. Eurich and Anthrax Research


THE Council of the Textile Institute has decided to award its medal to Dr. F. W. Eurich, on the occasion of his retirement from the Anthrax Investigation Board for Bradford and District, to mark its appreciation of his services to the wool industries. The medal was founded in 1919 and has hitherto been awarded mainly for services to the Institute. In 1905 the Home Office, in co-operation with the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, constituted the Anthrax Investigation Board for Bradford and District, and Dr. Eurich was appointed bacteriologist. The investigation involved the bacteriological examination of about 14,000 samples of wool and hair. The virulent nature of the anthrax bacillus was a constant and serious danger to the investigator. Dr. Eurich was the first to cultivate anthrax organisms from the wool. He also found that, contrary to expectation, wools might be as dangerous when clean as when dirty. The infection was through the blood stream of the animals, and the tenacious adherence of the blood serum throughout processing, hitherto unsuspected, was exposed as a significant factor in the problem. Dr. Eurich discovered that many varieties of wool and hair are liable to infection and listed them roughly in order of danger. The nature of the anthrax bacillus, the mode of infection, and the conditions under which it persisted were discovered. With Mr. Elmhurst Duckering, Dr. Eurich succeeded in killing anthrax spores and bacilli in a wool sample with formaldehyde, and this was found to have no deleterious effect on such processes as spinning and dyeing. In addition, Dr. Eurich introduced improved treatment of the disease when contracted, and effectively reduced its fatality. Workers in wool owe a large debt of gratitude to him for his long-sustained work on the dreaded “Bradford disease”.