Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Dr. Uplavici’s studies on amebic dysentery

Professor Dr. Jaroslav Hlava

In 1887 Professor Dr. Jaroslav Hlava (1855 –1924) of the Charles University in Prague carried out studies on the transmission of amebic dysentery by inoculating six cats with infected human stools and successfully producing dysentery in four. On completing his experiments, he published his results in a scientific paper under the title “O Uplavici,” meaning “About Dysentery.” Unfortunately, he wrote in a language that was sweet music to his compatriots but plain gibberish to the rest of the world. So the world’s scientific community was reduced to learning about his results from a German abstract which left out Dr. Hlava’s name and moved Uplavici into the author’s position. This unfortunate mistake laid the groundwork for the future growth of Dr. Uplavici’s fame. His articles were quoted in scientific journals and some scientists reportedly corresponded with him and visited his laboratory. The mistake was corrected in 1939 by Dr. Clifford Dobell, thus putting an end to Dr. Uplavici’s fame and scientific career.


  1. Dobell C. Dr. O. Uplavici (1887–1938). Parasitology 1938,30:239.
  2. Manwaring WH. Death of “Dr. O. Uplavici.” Cal West Med. 1939, 50:201.
  3. Dunea G. Uplavici syndrome, BMJ, 1978,1:846.

GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief

Winter 2019



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