Medical Classics

War on Disease: a History of the Lister Institute

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d8209 (Published 30 December 2011)
Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d8209

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

  1. Jonathan Chick, honorary professor, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
  1. jonathan.chick{at}gmail.com

The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, established as a research institute in 1891, was the first medical research charity in the United Kingdom (www.lister-institute.org.uk/about.html). In this book the institute’s scientists refer to the Lister as a way of life, “a habit of thought.”

Staff took alarming risks in pursuit of science. In 1905, plague in India killed half a million people. The Lister expedition asked people to hand in dead rats, with a quarter of an anna paid per rat—a now defunct unit of currency equal to 1/16 of a rupee. A street map was drawn linking infected rats to homes of deceased citizens. But how was bacillus pestis transmitted? Not by a rat bite. The answer …

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

Article access

Article access for 1 day

Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

* Prices do not include VAT

THIS WEEK'S POLL