Why Millions Died reviews the painfully slow development of
research by isolated investigators who believed that diseases could
be caused by infectious organisms. The brutally contentious and
vivid arguments that raged between the proponents of the germ
theory of disease and those who condemned it from both the
scientific community and the pulpits delayed the implementation of
vaccines and antimicrobial agents. Such delays resulted in millions
of deaths until the professional communities and the general public
began to believe that certain health measures could protect against
infection and reduce the enormous death tolls from disease.
Preeminent among these workers was an Italian scientist, Agostino
Bassi, who articulated the germ theory of disease following twenty
years of research. Approximately thirty years later, Pasteur
repeated Bassi's research in order to gain prestige as the savior
of the germ theory of disease. Pasteur was also discovered to have
committed fraud in claiming he had developed a vaccine for anthrax
- only to be exposed by the brilliant German microbiologist, Robert
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