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Otto Obermeier (1843–1873)


DR. OTTO HUGO FRANZ OBERMEIER, the founder of German parasitology and father of German tropical medicine, was born at Spandau in Prussia on February 12, 1843, the son of a non-commissioned officer. He received his medical education in Berlin where he studied under Du Bois-Reymond, Virchow, Langen-beck and Frerichs and qualified in 1866 with a thesis on Purkinje's fibres. While working in a laboratory at the Charite Hospital in 'Berlin he discovered in the blood of persons suffering from relapsing fever minute organisms presenting a twisting or rotatory movement. His first publication on the subject appeared on March 1, 1873, in the Zentralblatt fur die medizinische Wissenschaften, and a few weeks later he gave an account of it at the Berlin Medical Society. His attempt to transfer relapsing fever to laboratory animals by intravenous or subcutaneous injection of blood from relapsing fever patients was unsuccessful. His promising career was cut short by a laboratory infection with cholera, and he died at the early age of thirty on August 20, 1873. The following year, at Cohen's suggestion, the organism which he had discovered was given the name of Spirochceta obermeieri.

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Otto Obermeier (1843–1873). Nature 151, 194 (1943).

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