International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Carl Wilhelm Boeck

    Status Medical Researcher, Physician
    Country Norway


    Carl Wilhelm Boeck (December 15, 1808 – December 10, 1875) was a Norwegian dermatologist. With Daniel Cornelius Danielssen, he was the author of the influential leprosy study Om Spedalskhed. Boeck earned his qualifications at Christiania University (now University of Oslo) in 1831, and worked as a physician in his hometown of Kongsberg from 1833 to 1846. He also represented Kongsberg in Parliament from 1845, and lectured in skin diseases, syphilis, and dermatology at Christiana University from 1846; he was made a full professor in 1851.

    After travelling in England, Italy, and Greece to study leprosy and its manifestations, Boeck returned to Norway and worked with Daniel Cornelius Danielssen in the 1840s. In 1847, Boeck and Danielssen together published two influential early works on leprosy: Om Spedalskhed and Atlas Colorié de Spedalskhed. These remained standard reference texts on leprosy until the late nineteenth century.

    Boeck’s main research interest was in syphilis, and in the 1850s he made attempts to develop a treatment for syphilis by vaccination, a process he called syphilisation.

    In 1869, when he retired from teaching, he visited the United States and studied the prevalence of leprosy in Norwegian immigrants there. He died of pernicious anaemia in December 1875. A form of leprosy, Danielssen-Boeck disease, is named in his honour.


    "Carl Wilhelm Boeck 1808-1875". International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973. 154.

    "Carl Wilhelm Boeck". Whonamedit?. Online. Accessed 11 January 2016.

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