The Japanese doctor and bacteriologistKitasato Shibasaburohelped discover a method to prevent tetanus and diphtheria. Almost simultaneously with the French bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin, he discovered the infectious agent responsible for the plague.
KitasatoHe was born on January 29, 1853 in Kitanosato, Japan. He obtained a medical doctorate from Tokyo School of Medicine (now Tokyo University School of Medicine) in 1883. After graduation, he conducted bacteriological research at the Central Sanitary Bureau of the Japanese Ministry of the Interior.
In 1892KitasatoHe returned to Japan, where he founded and directed the Institute of Infectious Diseases, a laboratory near Tokyo. It was incorporated in 1899 to the Ministry of the Interior. The following year, he founded Yojoen, a sanatorium for tuberculosis victims. He served as president of both the laboratory and the sanatorium.
Kitasatohe was sent to Hong Kong in 1894 to investigate an outbreak of bubonic plague. Within a month he identified the organism that causes the plague, the bacterium Pasteurella pestis (now called Yersinia pestis by Yersin).
In 1914 he resigned from the leadership of the imperial institute and founded theKitasato Institute. He served as the first dean of the Keio University School of Medicine, an institution he helped establish, in 1917–28. When the Japanese Medical Association was founded in 1923,Kitasatohe became its first president. In 1924 the Japanese emperor awarded him the title of baron.
Kitasatodied in Tokyo on June 13, 1931.