Pierre François Olive Rayer

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Pierre François Olive Rayer

Pierre François Olive Rayer (8 March 1793 – 10 September 1867) was a French physician who was a native of Saint Sylvain. He made important contributions in the fields of pathological anatomy, physiology, comparative pathology and parasitology.

He studied medicine at Caen, and afterwards in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and at the Hôtel-Dieu. He became an interne of medicine in 1813, and in 1818 earned his medical doctorate. Later he became a physician at Hôpital Saint-Antoine (1825), and at the Hôpital de la Charité (1832), and was also a consultant-physician to King Louis-Philippe. In 1862 he attained the chair of comparative anatomy at the Faculté de Médecine de Paris.

In 1837 Rayer discovered that the fatal equine disease known as glanders was contagious to other species including humans. Between 1837 and 1841 he published a three-volume book on diseases of the kidney titled Traité des maladies des reins. In 1850 Rayer published a work that provided the first comprehensive description of anthrax. In this treatise he documented studies he performed with physician Casimir Davaine (1812-1882) in regards to Bacillus anthracis.[1]

Rayer was a member of the Académie de Médecine and the Académie des Sciences, and co-founder of the Société de biologie, of which he was also president. He maintained friendships with several influential people in France; including naturalist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, novelist George Sand, philosopher Émile Littré, and several disciples of Henri de Saint-Simon.

Eponyms associated with Pierre Rayer[edit]

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  1. ^ Pierre François Olive Rayer (1850) “Inoculation du sang de rate”, Comptes rendus des séances et mémoires de la Société de biologie, vol. 2, pages 141-144.

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