By Elaine Marie Alphin
Growing to be up within the 1830s, Louis Pasteur observed the scary results of ailments like rabies and tuberculosis. He spent his lifetime looking for solutions to his many questions and stored thousands of lives along with his discoveries.
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Extra info for Germ Hunter: A Story About Louis Pasteur (Creative Minds Biography)
But the thought of cutting open an animal to study it seemed horrible. Still, he had a job to do. He overcame his squeamishness about using animals in experiments. In 1865 he examined sickly silkworms, looking for microbes in their body tissue. Young caterpillars didn’t have any microbes that Louis could see. But microbes did develop as the unhealthy caterpillars grew. Louis guessed that the microbes were passed from silkworm moth parents to their caterpillar young. To test his idea, he told the silkworm breeders to isolate each pair of moth parents just before the female laid her eggs.
Her parents waited over a month to bring her to him, and although he agreed to give her the full course of injections, she died. The doctors who had challenged Louis about anthrax used this failure to argue that his rabies treatment was no good. But the Pelletiers blamed themselves for not bringing Louise sooner. Her father praised Louis. He had risked his career and reputation to try to save their child, even knowing the odds were against him. Despite his critics, rabies victims f locked to Louis from all over the world for his treatment.
The next day, Louis rushed to the hospital to oversee the second injection, but the girl had died. He had failed. Horrified at the girl’s death, Louis examined her brain. He injected lab rabbits with tissue containing her rabies microbes. The rabbits died quickly, which showed that the rabies was advanced. Perhaps his injections were not a failure—perhaps he had been called in too late to have any chance of saving the girl. Before these experiments were done, Louis got a second request. Nine-year-old Joseph Meister had been savagely bitten by a rabid dog on July 4.