Most our age remember coal furnaces and are aware the name for hard coal, the best type for home heating, is anthracite (see the posting of 12/13 07). The word “anthracite” comes from “anthrax,” the Latin version of the Greek word for coal.
Anthrax, the disease, is so named because the most common form, cutaneous anthrax, classically shows a lesion that develops a black, coal-like scab. A study of anthrax by Robert Koch in 1879 was the first proof of a specific disease caused by a specific microorganism and established the germ theory of medicine. It is not the anthrax bacteria itself that kills, but a toxin it secrets. Antibiotics can control the bacteria, but have no effect on the toxin which can quickly overwhelm the victim.
Mr. Eply would be proud.