Tag Archives: neisseria meningitis

“Albert Neisser: gonorrhoeae or meningitidis?”

Neisseria gonorrhoeae actually….

"Albert Neisser. How a microbiologist should look..."
“Albert Neisser. How a microbiologist should look…”

Albert Ludwig Sigesmund Neisser was born in 1855 in Schweidnitz (now in Poland). He demonstrated the aetiological agent of gonorrhoea on microscopy in 1879, and the bacterium was named after him. Neisseria gonorrhoeae was not isolated in pure culture until 1885.

Neisser specialised in dermatology and sexually transmitted diseases and his other major discovery was as “co-founder” of the aetiological agent of leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae. (There was some dispute between Gerhard Hansen and Neisser over who had actually discovered the micro-organism first…

And what about Neisseria meningitidis? It was actually discovered by an Austrian bacteriologist called Anton Weichselbaum in 1887. It was initially called Diplococcus intracellularis meningitidis (!), but someone sensibly changed it to Neisseria meningitidis in due course.

Albert Neisser died of septicaemia in 1916, at the age of 61.

For a nice biography on the life and works of Albert Neisser, click here (about a 5 minute read)