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  Time Line of TB in Canada

 1882 - Koch Discovers Tubercle Bacillus

In 1882, a German scientist by the name of Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis. This discovery was attributed to a staining technique developed in Koch’s own laboratory, capable of distinguishing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. More than 180 years previous to this discovery, it was already known that TB was infectious; a decree of the Republic of Lucca, Italy in 1699 instructed medical staff to burn the bodies and possessions of people that died from TB. Then some 17 years before Koch uncovered the TB bacteria, a French doctor, Jean-Antoine Villemin had demonstrated that TB could be passed from humans to cattle, and then to rabbits. The Canadian Medical Association even suggested in 1877 that TB might be a bacterial disease, but it was not until Koch pinpointed the source of this dreaded disease that the fight against it could really begin.