Zinsser, Hans


Zinsser, Hans

biographical name

(born Nov. 17, 1878, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died 1940) U.S. bacteriologist and epidemiologist. He taught principally at the Columbia (1913–23) and Harvard (1923–40) medical schools. He isolated the bacterium that causes the European type of typhus, developed the first antityphus vaccine, and, with colleagues, found a way to mass-produce it. He recognized that cases of mild typhus-like symptoms in lice-free persons are recurrences after a latent period (Brill-Zinsser disease). His best-known book, Rats, Lice and History (1935), recounts the effects of typhus on humankind (he believed disease had destroyed more civilizations than war) and efforts to eradicate it.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Zinsser, Hans, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Zinsser, Hans? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More