- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Koch's postulates (Robert Koch)

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Four criteria are required to establish that an organism causes a disease. The postulates were first set forth by J. Henle in 1840. At that time, however, it was not possible to prove them.

1. The organism must be demonstrated to be present in all animals with the disease, but not in healthy animals.
2. The organism must be isolated from a diseased animal and grown in pure culture.
3. The pure culture must cause the disease in susceptible animals.
4. The organism must be recovered from (3) and re-grown in pure culture.


  • J. Henle:
    Von den Miasmen und Contagien.
    Pathologische Untersuchungen. Berlin 1840. Page 1-82.

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