Proteus OX19

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Proteus OX19 is a strain of the Proteus vulgaris bacterium.


In 1915, Arthur Felix and Edward Weil discovered that Proteus OX19 reacted to the same human immune antibodies as typhus, so developed the Weil-Felix test for typhus and other rickettsial diseases.

Drs. Eugeniusz Lazowski and Stanisław Matulewicz worked with Proteus OX19 during World War II in the small town of Rozwadów in Poland to keep Nazi Germany from taking over the town. The doctors began inoculating villagers with dead Proteus, rendering false positives in tests for typhus. When the blood samples of the townspeople were sent to the German authorities for testing, authorities were convinced a typhus epidemic was burning through Rozwadów. The two Polish doctors used Proteus OX19 to save thousands of Poles and Jews.

Proteus OX19 in fiction[edit]

The 1979 Night Trains novel by Barbara Wood and Gareth Wootton is a fictionalized account of the Proteus story, with names of characters, locations, etc. altered.[citation needed]

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