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It was Dr. Theobald Smith's investigation and reports about ticks that aided Dr. Francis in his research into how to erradicate tick fever in Cattle. After graduating for Albany Medical College, Dr. Smith became a research lab assistant with the Veterinary Division of the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. After two years of work studying the efficacy of bacterial vaccination in pigs, Smith erroneously believed he had found the causative agent of hog cholera. Smith turned his attention to Texas fever, a debilitating cattle disease. In 1889, he along with the veterinarian F.L. Kilbourne discovered Babesia bigemina, the tick-borne protozoan parasite responsible for Texas fever. This marked the first time that an arthropod had been definitively linked with the transmission of an infectious disease and prestaged the eventual discovery of insects as important vectors in a number of diseases. As Dr. Francis wrote in a letter to a colleague, Dr. John Connaway of Missouri; "Dr. Salmon, Director of the Bureau of Animal Industry is calling a meeting in December in Washington D.C. to consider the present cattle fever situation in America. I am sure we will get a complete report of the work of Smith and Kibourn, especially anything new since they published their classic work in 1893."
DescriptionNegative with heat and age damage of Theobald Smith from 1889. Faculty of microbiology department, Columbian University of Washington now known as George washington University. (Tick Fever-history) Physical description: black-and-white negatives, 16.5 X 11.5mm (aged and heat damaged)
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical SciencesTheobald Smith. Available electronically from