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De Sympathia et Antipathia rerum. Liber unus. De Contagione et Contagionis Morbis et Curatione. Libri III. - [FOUNDING MODERN EPIDEMIOLOGY]


Venice, 1546. 4to. Contemporary full vellum. Neatly recased, endpapers renewed. A (mostly fairly faint) damp stain throughout and a marginal worm tract, far from affecting text. Inner blank margin of title-page re-enforced. Some contemporary marginal annotations. Woodcut title-vignette and woodcut printer's device to final blank verso. (4), 76, (4) ff.

Scarce first edition of this milestone in the history of medicine, the foundational work of modern epidemiology, which was the first to state the germ theory of infection.This epochal work "establishes Fracastoro as one of the foremost scientists of all time, and earns him the title of founder of modern epidemiology. "De contagione" contains the first scientifically reasoned statement of the true nature of infection, contagion, and the germ theory of disease and is the foundation of all modern views on the nature of infectuous diseases... Fracastoro's influence is also clearly reflected in the work of such modern scientists as Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch as they broadened and furthered man's knowledge of infectuous diseases." (Heirs of Hippocrates). "This book represents a landmark in the development of our knowledge of infectuous disease. Fracastorus was the first to state the germ theory of infection. He recognized typhus and suggested the contagiousness of tuberculosis. Haeser describes him as the "founder of scientific epidemology"." (Garrison & Morton).Faracstoro's theories on contagions and epidemics were far ahead of their time, but they were still widely respected. The magnificent theories here constitute the first correct illustrations of how contagions might spread: by simple contact as in scabies and leprosy; by "fomities" or inanimate carriers, such as clothing or sheets; and at a distance, without direct contact or carriers, as in plague, smallpox, etc., attributing their transmission to the action of the air - and his ideas on the spreading and controlling of epidemics were of vital importance to Renaissance man and to the further development of our knowledge within this field. The work furthermore gives the first accurate account of typhys as well as several other contageous diseases, together with the affirmation of the contagiousness of tuberculosis. With this work, Fracastoro was also the first to enunciate the modern doctrine of the specific characters and infectious nature of fevers. Heirs of Hippocrates: 101; G&M: 2528; Wellcome: 2393; Govi: 83.

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