Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine: The Cremonese Anginas in 1747-1748


  • Alessandro Porro Department of Clinical and Community Sciences University of Milan
  • Bruno Falconi Department of Medical Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, University of Brescia
  • Lorenzo Lorusso UO of Neurology - AO "Mellino Mellini" of Chiari (BS)
  • Antonia Francesca Franchini Department of Clinical and Community Sciences University of Milan


Diphteria , History , XVIIIth century , Epizootic diseases


In 1749 Martino Ghisi (1715-1794), a physician from Soresina, a small town near Cremona, in Lombardy (in Northern Italy) described diphteria in humans in a complete and comprehensive ways. This description is commonly accepted by historians as a fact. But it is also the expression of a special period for medicine and surgery in Cremona: Paolo Valcarenghi (1705-1780), Giuseppe Sonsis (1737-1808), Giuseppe Bianchi (ca. 1730-ca. 1790) and Ghisi himself introduced during the XVIIIth  Century some aspects of modernity and rationality into Cremonese medicine and surgery. Valcarenghi, Bianchi and Ghisi had been students of Florentine surgical school at Santa Maria Nuova hospital. The relationship between human medicine and veterinary medicine is clear: Ghisi studied the diseases affecting Cremonese livestock in 1745 and sent a report to Francesco Roncalli Parolino (1692-1769). Roncalli published Ghisi’s report in 1747, in his monumental book, entitled Europae medicina. Then, in 1749 Ghisi reported his observations (dated 1747 and 1748) regarding human malignant angina, closely similar to the livestock’s one. We can argue that the first description of human diphtheria is the result of the synergy between animal medicine and human medicine.