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10 Diseases Named After People


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Carrión's Disease
Peruvian medical student Daniel Carrión volunteered to inject himself with infectious matter from someone with Peruvian warts  to learn more about the disease. After he died from the condition, it was renamed after him. Wikimedia Commons
Peruvian medical student Daniel Carrión volunteered to inject himself with infectious matter from someone with Peruvian warts to learn more about the disease. After he died from the condition, it was renamed after him. Wikimedia Commons

Here's a case where the person the disease is named after thoroughly deserves it. Carrión's disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by sand flies, has plagued Peru for more than 1,000 years, as well as parts of Colombia and Ecuador. Recognized several centuries back, it causes two distinct phases of illness in people. During the first stage, called Oroya fever, patients develop an elevated temperature, severe anemia and a temporarily suppressed immune system. In the second, eruptive stage, they develop "Peruvian warts," or skin lesions. Today, patients respond well to antibiotics [sources: Maguina, Spach].

The disease was originally called bartonellosis because the offending organism that causes it is Bartonella bacilliformis. The name "Carrión's" comes from Daniel Carrión, a 19th-century Peruvian medical student. Back when Carrión was studying, the medical community wasn't sure whether the same organism was behind both Oroya fever and Peruvian warts. So Carrión — apparently eager to make his mark in the medical world — inoculated himself with infectious matter from someone's Peruvian wart as an experiment. A few weeks later he developed symptoms of Oroya fever, which proved the same organism caused both phases of the illness. Unfortunately, he died from the disease two months later. The illness was subsequently renamed Carrión's disease to honor Carrión for giving his life for science [source: Spach].


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