Talking about French heroes, Louis Pasteur is one who deserves special recognition for finding a cure for RABIES.
If you’ve caught Will Smith in the blockbuster I AM LEGEND, don’t think that rabies turns humans into quite the fiends you’ll encounter in the film. Nevertheless, rabies, when its contracted by humans, is fatal.
Here is what Dr. William O’Gorman, a 19th century physician said about Pasteur in a NY Times article of the period:
” I have such confidence in the preventive forces of inoculation by mitigated virus that were it my misfortune to be bitten by a rabid dog, I would board the first Atlantic steamer, go straight to Paris and, full of hope, place myself immediately in the hands of Pasteur…. If the parents be poor, I appeal to the medical profession and to the humane of all classes to help send these poor children where there is almost a certainty of prevention and cure. Let us prove to the world that we are intelligent enough to appreciate the advance of science and liberal and humane enough to help those who cannot help themselves..”
– New York Herald Tribune, December 4, 1885.
You’ll read on the Pasteur site, how in fact four kids from New Jersey were sent to Paris to be treated – and cured for rabies by Louis Pasteur. That may be another reason why Pasteur is so respected, especially in America.
Pictures of the four New Jersey boys treated by Louis Pasteur can be seen on the Pasteur Foundation site.
BTW, if you’re planning to see I AM LEGEND, this is not a Christmas movie for the kids – it is VERY scary even for some adults. On the other hand, Will Smith is an excellent actor and deserves credit for an excellent portrayal of the last man left in New York City. The ending is anything but Hollywood, but definitely goes well with the film’s title.