Felix Vicq d’Azyr and the 1774-1776 epizootic (in south-western France)

by François Vallat, Docteur Vétérinaire, Docteur en Histoire, Adel. francoisvallat@hotmail.com

The rinderpest plague in south-western France from 1774 to 1776 was an opportunity for the young physician, Felix Vicq d’Azyr, sent to the region by the French Académie des Sciences, to study the disease and suggest ways of combating it. His task consisted in carrying out research on the origin of this disease (which he thought to be related to human plague), in experimenting with new treatments and in applying animal health
measures, which became more difficult with recurrent failures. The epizootic came to an end naturally and claimed the lives of over 150,000 head of cattle. The work published in 1776 by Vicq d’Azyr, which combined his documentation on the subject, influenced French animal health measures on a long-term basis.

Bull.Soc.Hist.Méd.Sci.Vét., 2007, 7 : 127-140