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Gruber-Widal reaction (Georges Fernand Isidore Widal)

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Serological agglutination test for typhoid fever.

The test is based on the presence of agglutinating antibodies against paratyphoid bacteria in the patient’s serum. It is mainly used for indirect confirmation of salmonellosis (as against typhus abdominalis, paratyphus, and brucelloses), but also for diagnosing infectional diseases like shigelloses, tularaemia and spotted fever.

Bacterial agglutination was discovered by Max von Gruber and Herbert Edward Durham (1866-1945). It was first briefly reported by Durham, and then described by Gruber and Durham. Their discovery was the basis for Widal’s test for typhoid.


  • H. E. Durham:
    On a special action of serum of highly immunized animals, and its use for diagnostic and other purposes.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1996, 59: 224-226.
  • M. Gruber, Herbert Edward Durham (1866-1945):
    Eine neue Methode zur raschen Erkennung des Choleravibrio und des Typhusbacillus.
    Münchener medicinische Wochenschrift, 1896, 43: 285-286.
  • M. Gruber:
    Über active und passive Immunität gegen Cholera und Typhus sowie über die bakteriologische Diagnose der Cholera und des Typhus.
    Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 1896, 9: 183-186, 204-209. Theorie der activen und passiven Immunität gegen Cholera, Typhus und verwandte Krankheitsprocesse.
    Münchener medicinische Wochenschrift, 1896, 43: 206-207. Beitrag zur Serumdiagsnostik des Typhus abdominalis.
    Münchener medicinische Wochenschrift, 1897, 44: 435-438, 477-480.
  • F. Widal:
    Sérodiagnostic de la fièvre typhoide.
    Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société Médicale des Hôpitaux de Paris, June 26, 1896.
  • F. Widal, Arthur Sicard:
    Étude sur le sérodiagnostic et sur la réaction agglutinante chez les typhiques.
    Annales de l’Institut Pasteur, Paris, 1897, 11: 353-432. Recherches de la réaction agglutinante dans le sang et le sérum desséchés des typhiques et dans la sérosité des vésicatpires.
    Bulletins et memoires de la Société medicale des hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, 1896, 13: 681-682.

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