- Gerhard Armauer Hansen
name = Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen
birth_date = birth date|1841|7|29|mf=y
death_date = death date and age|1912|2|12|1841|7|29|mf=y
death_place = Florø, Norway
University of Oslo
Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav
Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen (
July 29, 1841– February 12, 1912) was a Norwegian physician, remembered for his identification of the bacterium " Mycobacterium leprae" in 1873 as the causative agent of leprosy.cite journal | author = Hansen GHA | title = Undersøgelser Angående Spedalskhedens Årsager (Investigations concerning the etiology of leprosy) | journal = Norsk Mag. Laegervidenskaben | year = 1874 | volume = 4| pages = pp. 1–88 | language = Norwegian ] cite journal |author=Irgens L |title=The discovery of the leprosy bacillus |journal=Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen |volume=122 |issue=7 |pages=708–9 |year=2002 |pmid=11998735]
Hansen was born in Bergen and studied medicine at the Royal Frederik's University (now the
University of Oslo), gaining his degree in 1866. He served a brief internshipat the National Hospital in Christiania ( Oslo) and as a doctor in Lofoten. In 1868 Hansen returned to Bergen to study leprosy while working with Daniel Cornelius Danielssen, a noted expert.
Leprosy was regarded as largely
hereditaryor otherwise miasmic in origin. Hansen concluded on the basis of epidemiological studies that leprosy was a specific diseasewith a specific cause.cite journal |author=Irgens L |title=The discovery of Mycobacterium leprae. A medical achievement in the light of evolving scientific methods |journal=Am J Dermatopathol |volume=6 |issue=4 |pages=337–43 |year=1984 |pmid=6388392] In 1870-71 Hansen travelled to Bonnand Viennato gain the training necessary for him to prove his hypothesis.cite web | url=http://www.whonamedit.com/doctor.cfm/596.html | title=Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen | work=whonamedit.com | accessdate=2007-03-22] In 1873, as he announced the discovery of "Mycobacterium leprae" in the tissues of all sufferers, although he did not identify them as bacteria, and received little support.
In 1879 he gave tissue samples to
Albert Neisserwho successfully stained the bacteria and announced his findings in 1880, claiming to have discovered the disease-causing organism. There was some conflict between Neisser and Hansen, Hansen as discoverer of the bacillus and Neisser as identifier of it as the etiological agent. Neisser put in some effort to downplay the assistance of Hansen. Hansen's claim was injured by his failure to produce a pure microbiological culturein an artificial medium or to prove that the rod-shaped organisms were infectious. Further Hansen had attempted to infect at least one female patient without consent and although no damage was caused, that case ended in court and Hansen lost his post at the hospital.
Hansen remained medical officer for leprosy in Norway and it was through his efforts that the leprosy acts of 1877 and 1885 were passed, leading to a steady decline of the disease in Norway from 1,800 known cases in 1875 to just 575 cases in 1901. His distinguished work was recognized at the International Leprosy Congress held at Bergen in 1909.
Hansen had suffered from
syphilissince the 1860s but died of heart disease.
Bergen, Norwaya medical museumhas been designated Hansen, which is often referred to as the "Leprosy Museum". The University of Bergenhas also dedicated a research facility to him - " Armauer Hansen Building" - located at Haukeland University Hospitalin Bergen. The Leprosy Archives in Bergen has been nominated by UNESCOto the list: Memory of the World.
* [http://www.whonamedit.com/doctor.cfm/596.html Gerhard Henryk Armauer Hansen] . WhoNamedIt.
] The Leprosy Archives in Bergen:
* [http://digitalarkivet.no/lepraarkiv/ LEPRAARKIV ] at digitalarkivet.no Best link in English and Norwegian.
NAME= Hansen, Gerhard Henrik Armauer
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Epidemologist
DATE OF BIRTH=
July 29, 1841
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
February 12, 1912
PLACE OF DEATH= Florø, Norway
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