More than a century separates the description of “dropsy of the ventricles of the brain” by Scottish physicians and Robert Koch’s identification of the causal agent of tuberculous meningitis in 1882. This article reviews the writings in Scotland and France that marked the history of the identification of this infectious entity. From John Paisley in 1734 to Robert Whytt in 1738, from Marcellin Chardel in 1799 and L.P. Collinet in 1802 to Isidore Bricheteau in 1814 and Jean-Louis Brachet in 1818, and then Victor Le Diberder in 1837 and Isidore Valleix in 1838, unknown and forgotten physicians outnumber the famous masters in bringing about the progress and knowledge that enabled this frequent and consistently fatal disease in the 19th century to be accurately diagnosed and in most cases cured in the 20th century.

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