Throat swab used to diagnose diphtheria

Made:
1901-1930
maker:
Unknown

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Swab, cotton wool on metal rod, in glass tube, in wooden case, supplied by Kent County Council, early 20th century, for
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Throat swab, cotton wool on metal rod, in glass tube, in wooden case, supplied by Kent County Council, early 20th century, for diphtheria diagnosis

Diphtheria is a potentially deadly contagious infection which especially affects children. In 1883, German bacteriologist Edwin Klebs (1834–1913) discovered the bacterium which causes diphtheria. This was then isolated the following year by fellow researcher Friedrich Loeffler (1852–1915), which meant that the presence of bacteria could be tested for and used to diagnose infection.

This is a throat swab supplied by Kent County Council who would have supplied them to clinics and doctors’ surgeries to help monitor and check the spread of the disease. The swab is pictured here alongside the glass tube that would have protected the sample, and the wooden case.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Details

Category:
Clinical Diagnosis
Object Number:
A606027/3
Materials:
cork, cotton (fibre) and metal (unknown)
type:
throat swab
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • dressings
  • swab
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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