A contribution to the history of glanders in the Czech Republic

Veterinarni Medicina 45, 2000, 273-276

The first and the only victim of glanders at the University School of Veterinary Medicine was MVDr. Miroslav Derbek (born 3 Aug. 1894). Derbek was a lecturer at the Institute of Pathological Anatomy headed by Professor MUDr. Jan Lukes, who was the first to identify and describe Leptospira canicola. Derbek's hopeful educational and scientific career was dramatically interrupted at the age of 29 by what is known as the Verovany case. M.V., a farmer in Verovany in the district of Prerov, owned a mare and gelding purchased from the army. The gelding suffered from a chronic fistular lesion in the withers region. The first to die under unclear circumstances was a stable boy (in 1921). The farmer's daughter, who cared for the horse, developed signs of a serious disease on 6 March 1923 and died 10 days thereafter. The farmer's stepson died on 30 March 1923 showing the same clinical signs. After his death, the horses were killed and autopsied by Dr. Derbek. During the autopsy, Dr. Derbek's face and mouth were accidentally sprinkled with infectious material. In spite of immediate desinfection by all means then available, Dr. Derbek contracted the infection and died on 30 Sept. 1923 in Prague hospital. His corpse was autopsied at the Professor Hlava's Institute of Pathological Anatomy by the lecturer MUDr. Jiri Solc who also became infected and died of glanders several days later. Dr. Derbek's wife died on 9 Oct. 1923, the fiancee of Dr. Sole also contracted glanders and died Professor Hlava forbade any further autopsies. Dr. Derbek and Dr. Sole were not the last victims of occupational glanders in Czechoslavakia. In the same year Dr. Josef Pulkrabek, the vice-director of the Bioveta Institute contracted the infection and died on 4th Jan. 1924

FULL PAPER on request
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