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1885 Cholera Controversy: Klein versus Koch
  1. Bruno Atalic
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bruno Atalic, Chair of Physiology and Immunology and Chair of History of Medicine and Medical Ethics, Medical School Osijek, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek, Josip Huttler 4, 31000 Osijek, Croatia; brunoatalic{at}


This paper will try to give new insight into the Cholera Controversy, which occurred 125 years ago. The majority of papers already written on the topic have emphasised the role of Robert Koch who described the comma bacillus as the cause of cholera epidemics. At the same time they have marginalised the role of Emanuel Edward Klein by stating that he was wrong when he objected to Robert Koch's statement, because as an employee of the British government he was politically motivated. Moreover, they have paid barely any attention to Klein's writings on the subject. In this paper I will try to approach his attitudes from the scientific, not political, perspective and try to explain the reasons why he challenged Koch.

  • Klein, Emanuel Edward
  • Koch, Robert
  • cholera
  • Egypt
  • India

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  • Funding This paper is a result of the research supported by the British Scholarship Trust and the National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.