Chance favours only those who know how to court her.
My first attempts to transmit typhus to laboratory animals, including the smaller species of monkeys, had failed, as had those of my predecessors, for reasons which I can easily supply today.
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|Birth:||21st September, 1866|
|Death:||28th February, 1936|
He learned about biology early from his father Eugène Nicolle, a doctor at a Rouen hospital. He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen He received his M.D. in 1893 from the Pasteur Institute. At this point he returned to Rouen, as a member of the Medical Faculty until 1896 and then as Director of the Bacteriological Laboratory.
In 1903 Nicolle became Director of the Pasteur Institute in Tunis, where he did his Nobel Prize-winning work on typhus. He was still director of the Institute when he died in 1936.
Nicolle's discovery came about first from his observation that, while epidemic typhus patients were able to infect other patients inside and outside the hospital, and their very clothes seemed to spread the disease, they were no longer infectious when they had had a hot bath and a change of clothes. Once he realized this, he reasoned that it was most likely that lice were the vector for epidemic typhus.
In June 1909 Nicolle tested his theory by infecting a chimpanzee with typhus, retrieving the lice from it, and placing it on a healthy chimpanzee. Within 10 days the second chimpanzee had typhus as well. After repeating his experiment he was sure of it: lice were the carriers. Further research showed that the major transmission method was not louse bites but excrement: lice infected with typhus turn red and die after a couple of weeks, but in the meantime they excrete a large number of microbes. When a small quantity of this is rubbed on the skin or eye, an infection occurs.
He also wrote fiction and philosophy through his life, including the books Le Pâtissier de Bellone, Les deux Larrons, and Les Contes de Marmouse.
Charles Jules Henry Nicolledied 28 February 1936, Tunis.
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