The Organisms Behind Those Diseases
Proof that disease could be caused by parasites and fungi was recorded as far back as the 16th century, but discoveries of microscopic organisms were not readily accepted for at least another 100 years. In the late 18th century, Italian physician Agostino Bassi, born on this date in 1773, found a disease in the silkworm to be caused by a fungal parasite. The fungus, originally called Botrytis paradox, was later renamed Botrytis bassiana in his honor. Bassi later suggested that many contagious diseases such as smallpox, plague and cholera were also caused by live, yet undiscovered organisms.
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