History of Discovery

The condition was first identified in 1892, but it was not until 1900 that Guillermo Seeber comprehensively described it in a 19 year-old farm worker in Argentina whose breathing was impaired by a nasal mass (Andagala 2001, Hospenthal 2002). The organism was termed Coccidium seeberia by Wernicke, who was Seeber’s teacher at the time. This name came from the protozoal subdivision Coccidia.

Ashworth described the life cycle of the organism in 1923. He asserted that the organism was a fungus due to the similarity of its life cycle with other typical fungi, and renamed it Rhinosporidium seeberi. Microbiologists considered the organism to be a fungus after this time, although the taxonomy continued to be a source of debate. It now appears that the organism may be either a cyanobacterium or an aquatic protistan parasite.