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Kiyoshi Shiga

Born  1871
Died  1957

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Japanese bacteriologist, born February 7, 1871, Sendai; died January 25, 1957, Tokyo.

Biography of Kiyoshi Shiga

Kiyoshi Shiga studied at the imperial university of Tokyo from 1892 and graduated M.D. in 1896. By then he had already for two years worked with Kitasato Shibasaburo (1852-1931), who had discovered the tetanus bacillus, at the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Tokyo. It was here that Shiga in 1897 was able to isolate the organism now known as Shigella dysenteriae from faeces and intestinal walls in patients suffering from dysentery. In 1900 he developed a dysentery antiserum.

In 1899 Shiga was appointed laboratory director at the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Tokyo. He held this position until 1920, with an intermission for the years of 1901 to 1903. He spent these two years in Europe, working with Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) at The Royal Prussian Institute for Experimental Therapy in Berlin. Together they developed chemotherapy for trypanosomiasis, a blood disease caused by a protozoan micro organism. He also worked for some time at the institute for physiological chemistry in Heidelberg.

In 1903 Shiga returned to Tokyo to resume work with Kitasato at the Institute for Infectious Diseases. Shiga became Igaku Hakushi in 1905. In 1920 he was appointed professor of bacteriology at the University of Seoul and in 1929 became the university's president. Two years later he returned to Tokyo and remained there until his death. In 1936 Shiga was appointed an official of the Imperial Household.

His research also included work on leprosy, beriberi, and tuberculosis. His comprehensive written work in all these fields, with his textbooks, was of major importance to medical literature in his native country. In Japanese he published, among other things, a two volume work on clinical bacteriology and infectious diseases as well as a clinical bacterio- and serology.


  • Studien über die epidemische Dysenterie in Japan, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Bacillus dysenteriae.
    Deutsche medizinische Wochenshrift, 1901, 2: 741–744, 765–769, 783–786.
  • Observations on the epidemiology of dysentery in Japan.
    Philippine Journal of Science, 1906, 1: 485-500.
  • The trend of prevention, therapy, and epidemiology of dysentery since the discovery of its causative organism.
    The New England Journal of Medicine, 1936, 215: 1205-1211.
  • O. Felsenfeld:
    K. Shiga, bacteriologist. Science, July 19, 1957, 126 (3264): 113.
  • A. F. Trofa, H. Ueno-Olsen, R. Oiwa, M. Yoshikawa:
    Dr. Kiyoshi Shiga: discoverer of the dysentery bacillus.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases, Chicago, November 1999, 29 (5): 1303-1306.
  • W. Köler:
    Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie – 100 years ago. The isolation of Shigella flexneri.
    International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2000, 290: 5-6.
  • I. Izumi, K. Isozumi:
    Modern Japanese medical history and the European influence.
    Keijo Journal of Medicine, Tokyo, 2001: 50 (2): 91-99.
  • K. Kibari:
    [Kiyoshi Shiga and Shigella]. Article in Japanese.
    Nippon Naika Gakkai Zasshi, October 10, 2002, 91 (10): 2880-2881.
  • D. Ledermann:
    Una historia de la Shigella, desde Jerjes a Saddam Hussein.
    Revista chilena de infectologia., 2003, 20 (4): 76-79.

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