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Hist Med Vet. 1993;18(4):97-110.

Giovanni Maria Lancisi: De bovilla peste and stamping out.


Giovanni Maria Lancisi (1654-1720) was a physician, archiater of the pope, well-known as an anatomist and epidemiologist, who made an important contribution to veterinary medicine of when rinderpest (cattle plague) affected Europe in the XVIIIth century. His times, his life and career and his main contributions to medicine are described. the main features of the great epidemic of rinderpest which started in 1711 are presented. His book De bovilla peste, published in 1715, illustrates the characteristics of cattle plague and, above all, the control measures is discussed. Of the control measures, the most relevant were the introduction of stamping out, with special instructions for the killing and burial of affected animals, the prohibition of animal movements, the adoption of special hygienic and political measures. The relationships between cattle plague and poverty and famine are described, together with the actions taken to deal with them. Lancisi points out the relationship between politics and history on the one hand and cattle plague on the other. He may be considered the modern co-inventor (along with Bates) of stamping out.

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