July 7, 2019  |  

Bacillary dysentery from World War 1 and NCTC1, the first bacterial isolate in the National Collection.

Authors: Mather, Alison E and Baker, Kate S and McGregor, Hannah and Coupland, Paul and Mather, Pamela L and Deheer-Graham, Ana and Parkhill, Julian and Bracegirdle, Philippa and Russell, Julie E and Thomson, Nicholas R

In early 1915, a 28-year-old man arrived at No 14 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux, France. Although no clinical records remain, we believe he would have presented with bloody diarrhoea and severe abdominal cramping, and he was diagnosed with dysentery. On March 13, 1915, the patient, who we believe was Private Ernest Cable of the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment (appendix), died. Lieutenant William Broughton-Alcock, whose military records1 identify him as a bacteriologist for No 14 Stationary Hospital, collected this isolate—later identified as a Shigella flexneri serotype 2a bacterium—which was the first bacterial isolate deposited in the UK National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC)2 using the original isolate name Cable.

Journal: The Lancet
DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61790-6
Year: 2014

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