(b. Monte San Savino, Italy, 24 April 1864: d. Rome, Italy, 6 April 1940)
Sanarelli obtained his degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Siena in 1889. He then studied under Pasteur at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. In 1893 he received the chair of hygiene at the University of Siena but two years later went to Uruguay, at the invitation of the government, to set up an institute of experimental hygiene at the University of Montevideo. In 1898 he returned to Italy and became professor of hygiene at the University of Bologna and then at the University of Rome, where he remained until 1935, serving as vice-chancellor in 1922-1923.
Sanarelli was made doctor honoris causae of the universities of Paris and Toulouse: and he was a member of the Académie des Sciences, the Medical Academy of Paris, and the Royal Medical Academy of Belgium.
In 1892–1894 Sanarelli published his research on the pathogenesis of typhoid fever: he was the first to propose the theory of general infection with a secondary, localized infection in the intestine. (In 1925 he extended this theory to paratyphoid infections and to bacillary dysentery.) In a series of papers that appeared between 1916 and 1924, and as a book in 1931, Sanarelli discussed his investigations on the pathogenesis of cholera, demonstrating that the bacillus of cholera has a marked gastric enterotropism. He then studied (1924–1925) the so-called hematic carbuncle in the intestine and showed that cholera is hematogenetic rather than enteric.
From his studies on cholera, and especially those on the pathogenesis of choleraic algidity, Sanarelli discovered (1916) the hemorrhagic allergy, or “Sanarelli’s phenomenon,” He was also the first to propose the concept of hereditary immunity to tuberculosis, thus opposing the traditional concept of a hereditary predisposition to the disease. In Montevideo, Sanarelli had the opportunity to investigate the cause of yellow fever. From his research on diseased patients and corpses, he was able to isolate Bacterium icteroides, the earliest discovered (1897) human exit-paratyphoid.
In 1898 Sanarelli discovered the myxomatosis virus of the rabbit, the first known tumor disease in animals caused by a filterable virus. He was also the first to use the method of ultrafiltration through colloidal membranes. This method enabled him to study (1930) the germination and development of the tubercular ultravirus. In other important studies he showed that spirillum and fusiform associations of bacteria are not real microbic associations, but are, instead, a single germ, which can appear as either a rod or a spiral according to the environmental conditions. He called this microor-ganism Heliconema vincenti. Sanarelli was also a pioneer in the field of nasal vaccination (1924).
1. Original Works. Sanarelli’s major works are “Die Ursachen der natürlichen Immunität gegen den Milzbrand,” in Zentralblatt für Bakeriologie und Parasitenkunde9 (1891), 467; “Études sur la fièvre typhoï de expérimentale,” in Annales de l’Institut Pasteur, 6 (1892), 721: 8 (1894), 193, 353: Etiologia e patogenesi della febbre gialla (Turin, 1897); Etiologia y patogenia de la fiebre amarilla (Montevideo, 1897): “Das myxomatogene virus,” in Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie und Parasitenkunde, 23 (1898), 865: Tubercolosi ed evoluzione sociale (Milan, 1913); Manuel d’igiene generale e coloniale (Florence, 1914): “La patogenesi del colera. Nota preventiva,” in Annali d’igiene sperimentale, 26 (1916), 685: and “Pathogénie du choléra,” in Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de L’Académie des scieces, 163 (1916), 538. Later writings are “Le gastro-entérotropisme des vibrions,” ibid., 168 (1919), 578, repr. in Annali d’igoeme sperimentale, 29 (1919), 129: 31 (1921), 1: “De la pathogénie du cholera … Voies de pénétration et de sortie des vibrions cholériques dans I-organisme animal.” in Annales de I’institut Pasteur,37 (1923),364, repr, in Annali digiene sperimentale, 33 (1923), 457; “L’algidité in Annales de I’Institut Pasteur37 (1923), 806, repr. Annali d-igiene sperimentale34 (1924), I: “Sulle vaccinazioni per via nasale,” in Annali d’igiene sperimentale, 34 (1924); 861; “Sur le charbon dit “intestinal,’” in Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séunces de I’Académie des sciences, 179 (1924), 937; Nuove vedute sulle infezioni dell’ apparto digerente (Rome, 1925); and “Sulla patogenesi del carbonchio det-to ‘interno’ o ‘spontaneo,’” in Annali d’igiene sperimen tale, 35 (1925), 273. repr. Annales de I’Institut Pasteur, 39 (1925), 209.
See also “Identité entre spirochètes et bacilles fusiformes. Les Héliconèmes ‘vincentim’” in Annales de I’Institut Pasteur, 41 (1927), 679: “Dimostrazione in vivo e in vitro delle forme filtranti del virus tubercolare,” in Annali d’igiene sperimentale, 40 (1930), 589, written with A. Alessandrini: “Il fattore ereditario nella tubercolosi,” in Romana medica (Rome. 1930); and Il colera (Milan, 1931).