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French Joseph MEISTER

First person to be inoculated against rabies by Louis Pasteur

Source :  Michel DANSLER

Born: on February 21, 1876 in Paris, France
Died: on June 24, 1940 in Paris, France


In 1885, nine-year-old Meister was badly bitten by a rabid dog. Despite the fact that he could have been prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license as he was not a medical doctor, Pasteur decided to treat the boy with a rabies virus vaccine grown in rabbits and weakened by drying, using an untested version of a treatment he had earlier tried on dogs. The treatment was successful and the boy did not develop rabies.

As an adult, Meister served as a caretaker at the Pasteur Institute until his death in 1940 at age 64. On 24 June 1940, ten days after the German army invaded Paris during World War II, Meister committed suicide with his gas furnace.

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