It did not seem likely that I was destined to undertake research on typhus.
I finally demonstrated that typhus infection is not hereditary in the louse.
Most of the doctors in the Tunisian administration, especially those in country districts, contracted typhus and approximately one third of them died of it.
Of all the problems which were open to me for study, typhus was the most urgent and the most unexplored. We knew nothing of the way in which contagion spread.
The fact that I was fortunate enough to escape contagion, in spite of frequent, sometimes daily contacts with the disease, was because I soon guessed how it spread.
At the time when I was conducting my research there was no known method for taking the guinea pig's temperature. I demonstrated a technique which is now widely used.
The discovery that I soon made that the guinea pig was also susceptible to infection made it possible for me, from the third year on, to preserve the virus on this animal.
I was less successful in my attempts to effect preventive vaccination against typhus by using the virus and in trying to produce large quantities of serum using large animals.
My first attempts to transmit typhus to laboratory animals, including the smaller species of monkeys, had failed, as had those of my predecessors, for reasons which I can easily supply today.
From the practical point of view, the susceptibility to infection of the guinea pig proved to be the most useful step forward. Today, all laboratories use this animal for preserving the virus.