A day to remember - Jaume Ferran i Clua

Jaume Ferran

Jaume Ferran i Clua (Corbera d'Ebre, 1851 – Barcelona 1929) was a Spanish bacteriologist and sanitarian, contemporary of Koch, and said by his fellows to have made some of the discoveries attributed to Koch. As early as 1885, he wrote on immunization against cholera. In 1893, his work on this subject was translated into French with the title L'Inoculation préventive contre le Cholera.

Tuberculosis is another disease in which Ferran was always deeply interested.

As the son of the village doctor, he graduated in Medicine at the University of Barcelona.  There he became interested in bacteriology. In 1884, the Royal Academy of Medicine recognized his report on 'bacterial parasitism' and the Barcelona municipality sent him to Marseilles to study the epidemic of cholera. Convinced of its bacterial etiology, newly discovered by Koch, Ferran prepared attenuated cultures  of the vibrio bacillus, which was used to develop the first cholera vaccine.
During the outbreak of epidemic cholera in 1885, Ferrán was called to Valencia , to organise mass inoculation of the population. In spite of the success obtained, a controversy was unleashed; some believed that the Ferranian method was dangerous, and subsequently, the Government prohibited vaccination.

Later, he carried out research on the immunology of abdominal typhus and diphtheria and proposed a supra-intensive method for anti-rabies vaccination.


On the historic Lazareto in the middle of the port of Mahon at Menorca, Spain, you may find an expressive bronze statue of a man who breaks away from chains. Engraved on the four sides of the stone plinth are the names of four eminent men of medicine and medical science, of microbiology, of bacteriology and of immunology: Louis Pasteur, (France), Juan Carlos Finlay (Cuban), Sir Alexander Fleming, (Scottish) and Edward Jenner (English). It is an appreciation to pioneers who have furthered our knowledge about infectious diseases, in an era that still relied on quarantine islands such as the Lazareto of Mahon.


  1. Jaume Ferran i Clua, in Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaume_Ferran_i_Clua. accessed 31 january 2017.
  2. Discover Lazareto, Menorca's Historic Treasure. http://menorca-live.com/discover-lazareto-menorcas-historic-treasure/


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