Monday, October 23, 2017

Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen (1841-1912)

He was well known for his pioneer study of leprosy - a prominent disease in the history of human sufferings.

Armauer Hansen was the discoverer of the causative agent of leprosy. Armauer Hansen was born in 29 July 1841 in Bergen, Norway. He entered the University of Christiana to study medicine in 1859. He obtained his degree in medicine in 1866, and completed his internship at the National Hospital in Christiania. After about two years at Bergen’s Leprosy Hospital he underwent a period of study in Vienna, where he became familiar with the ‘germ theory’ of disease.
Returning to Bergen, Hansen was by now convinced that leprosy was a specific communicable disease. In 1873, he discovered rod-shaped bodies later identified as M. leprae. He published his observations in 1874. By improving his staining technique in 1879, he was able to show great numbers of rod-shaped bacteria typically aggregated in parallel.

In 1880 Hansen named the organism causing leprosy as Bacillus leprae. When Lehman and Neumann erected the new genus Mycobacterium in 1896, it was transferred to this genus and henceforth ahs be known as Mycobacterium leprae.

He believed that the bacillus was the etiological agent of leprosy, which proved to be true. Hansen’s publication from 1874, Preliminary Contributions to the Characteristics of Leprosy, is the earliest description of a microorganism as the cause of a chronic disease.
Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen (1841-1912)
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