Victor Babès

Born 1854
Died 1926

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Romanian pathologist, born July 4, 1854, Vienna; died October 19, 1926.

Biography of Victor Babès

Victor Babès was born in Vienna to a family from Banat, an ethnically mixed historic region of eastern Europe. He studied in Budapest and Vienna, and received his doctorate in the latter city. He was assistant in pathological anatomy in Budapest from 1874 to 1885, except for his study year 1883-84, which he spent in Munich, Heidelberg, and Paris. In the study year of 1885/1886 he worked with Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) and Robert Koch (1843-1910) in Berlin and with André Victor Cornil (1837-1908) in Paris. He became associate professor (Privatdozent) in 1881, and in 1885 was appointed professor of pathological histology at the University of Budapest. In 1886, with Louis Pasteur (1822-1894), he studied Pasteur's method of vaccination against rabies. With Cornil he published a textbook of bacteriology.

In 1887 the legislative bodies called Babes to Bucuresti as professor of pathological anatomy and bacteriology, as well as director of the institute of pathology and bacteriology. Here he made large efforts to improve the sanitary conditions in Romania as well as in the medical clinic of Bucuresti. It was here he commenced publishing the Annales d'institut de pathologie et de bacteriologie - which were soon recognised as valuable contributions to these fields.

Babes became a member of the Rumanian academy, corresponding member of the Paris Académie de médecin, commander of Rumanian and foreign orders, an officer of the Legion of Honour.

Babès list of publications mirrors his many important investigations in the fields of tuberculosis and bacteriology. He was one of the first to demonstrate tubercle bacilluses in the urine of living persons. He published a monograph on septic diseases in childhood (Leipzig 1889), a monograph on leprosy (Berlin 1898). Of special importance is his discovery of the parasite causing Texas fever in cattle, as well as several other disease agents. In the first public meeting of the international medical congress in Rome, he won much attention for his view on the role of the state in modern bacteriological research.

His brother was Aurel Babes (1853-1925), professor of chemistry at the veterinary high school in Bucuresti.

We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.

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