I recall from my history of science that one of Pasteur's assistants accidentally injected rabies virus into his thigh. I was able to find only two links about this event, one in a book called "Who Goes First?: The Story of Self-experimentation in Medicine" where it states: "Jacques Grancher, the physician who gave the first injections of the vaccine to Meister, accidentally stuck his thigh with a syringe containing live rabies virus. Pasteur then immediately gave him rabies vaccine according to this book. https://www.amazon.com/Who-Goes-First-Self-Experimentation-Medicine/dp/0520212819 page 112

The other reference was also from a book that didn't give the name of the assistant but gave a similar story: "The needle jabbed into the assistant's leg. Pasteur's vaccine was based on the commonly held theory that resistance to a virus is built up by exposing the body to stronger and stronger doses of that virus. Therefore, the assistant had just injected a rather strong dose of rabies virus deep into his leg. The terrified assistant immediately asked to receive the full treatment." https://www.amazon.com/Scary-Medical-Stories-Marie-Noble/dp/1591942926 "The Fury of Rabies"

I find it odd that other historical sites fail to mention what I consider to be a rather important event. Especially if it resulted in SEVERAL patients being treated at once and not just Joseph Meister. My question is: Can anyone confirm if Jacques Grancher, MD actually did accidentally infect himself with rabies and was saved only by Pasteur's rabies vaccine?


1 Answer 1


According to this source, yes, it is true, but happened long after the Meister case.

The event was hidden for years and not recorded until after Pasteur's death.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .