Chapter 4 : Mirage of Health: Infection Infection versus Disease

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The Pasteur biography was a commercial success and assured Dubos’popularity as an author of many other books for the general public. On its publication in 1950, The New York Times called it “one of the best biographies of the year”. Inside the Rockefeller Institute, moreover, Dubos was encouraged to look beyond experimental evidence to learn how Pasteur visualized microbial life as integral to processes in health and disease. This work recalls Dubos's1934 experiments in Avery’s laboratory in which detrimental environmental factors lowered the physiological status of monkeys and made them susceptible to lobar pneumonia. , the first of many books written in the orangery, is an unusual approach to medical history—a biography of a disease. The book was prompted largely by his growing concern that understanding tuberculosis was not a bacteriological problem but instead “a social pathology”. The Duboses are critical of twentieth-century medical science for being more successful in retarding death with vaccines, surgery, and drugs than for finding other ways to protect against infection. With his book (1959), Dubos toppled two illusions: the quest for perfect health and the conquest of disease. With , Dubos became the leading medical scientist to oppose the current popular belief that infectious diseases could be conquered.

Citation: Moberg C. 2005. Mirage of Health: Infection Infection versus Disease, p 91-118. In René Dubos, Friend of the Good Earth. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817565.ch4
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