Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Self Inoculation and the Fatal Quest for the Cause of Oroya Fever and Verruga Peruana

Earlier this week I attended an excellent case presentation  by infectious diseases trainee Dr. Claudia Jarrin. The subject was Bartonella bacilliformis infection, endemic in the Peruvian Andes. Acute infection with Bartonela bacilliformis is associated with Carrion's disease (Oroya Fever) while chronic infection is the causative agent of verruga peruana.

Here is a short essay on Peruvian medical student Daniel Carrión. The paper chronicles Carrión's self inoculation, ultimately fatal, with Bartonela bacilliformis . The essay also explores other famous physician self-inoculators.

One such physician, Dr. Barry Marshall, drank an infectious broth with Helicobacter pylori, proving this as the causative organism of certain stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Marshall fared better than Carrión as he both lived and won the Nobel Prize (2005).

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