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Vol. LXVI, No. 20
September 26, 2014

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Milestones

Dear Editor,

As a recent émigré of the NIH campus and relocatee to the FDA White Oak facility, I read with interest this entire issue that marks the end of an era [“FDA Exits Campus This Summer After 73 Years,” NIH Record, Aug. 29, 2014], and a sad occasion for many FDA researchers. It really was a lovely reminiscence and a source of many interesting historical tidbits. I have only one bone to pick. Margaret Pittman was not the discoverer of the cause of whooping cough. Although [Pittman] was a major force in the field, and worked at NIH well into her later years, the discovery is credited to Jules Bordet, hence the genus name Bordetella. Dr. Bordet, in a 1906 paper co-authored by Octave Gengou published in the Annales de l’Institut Pasteur and titled “Le Microbe de la Coqueluche,” described the isolation of the bacterium, initially called Haemophilus pertussis. In fact, a pertussis research symposium on whooping cough was convened at the Pasteur Institute in 2006, to mark the 100-year anniversary of this study.

Scott Stibitz, FDA/CBER

(Ed. note: We have corrected the online version of the story.)


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