Moriz Kaposi

Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902)

Moritz ‘Kohn’ Kaposi (1837-1902) was a Hungarian physician and dermatologist.

Eminent European dermatologist he provided the first, or early descriptions of cutaneous and systemic lupus erythematosus (1869/1872); the idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcoma of the skin (1872 – Kaposi Sarcoma); xeroderma pigmentosum (1882); lichen ruber moniliformis (1886); and varicelliform eruption (1887)

Fluent in Hungarian, German, French, and English. Member of the imperial Order of (Emperor) Leopold and ‘Hofrath‘, officer of the Légion d’Honneur

  • Born Moriz Kohn on 23 October 1837 in Kaposvár, Hungary
  • 1857 – Medical School of Vienna, graduating Doctor of Medicine (1861),  Doctor of Surgery (1862), Master of Obstetrics (1866)
  • 1860’s Worked for Carl Ludwig Sigmund’s Syphilis Clinic
  • 1866 – Started to work with Ferdinand Hebra (1816-1880) at the Vienna School of Dermatology
  • 1869 – Married Martha Hebra, daughter of Ferdinand Hebra (Kaposi was allegedly provided six of Hebra’s wealthiest patients as a dowry.)
  • 1875 – Professor of Dermatology, University of Vienna
  • 1880 – Chairman of the Vienna School of Dermatology
  • 1892 – Hosted the Second International Congress of Dermatology in Vienna
  • Died 6 March 1902 in Vienna, Austria

Medical Eponyms
Kaposi sarcoma (1872)

Eponym attribution suggested by Heinrich Köbner in 1891.

Kaposi Varicelliform Eruption (1873) (KVE, eczema herpeticum)

Rare cutaneous eruption caused by viral infection that infects a preexisting dermatosis. Usually associated with HSV-1, HSV-2, coxsackievirus A16, or vaccinia virus. Most commonly a disseminated HSV infection in patients with atopic dermatitis

Kaposi dermatosis (1874)

Kaposi suggested the term Xeroderma Pigmentosum should be used in 1890

Major Publications


Name change: First name of Móric (also Mór, Moriz or Moritz) he was born to a Jewish family with the surname ‘Kohn‘. In 1869 he converted to Catholicism and in 1871 changed his surname to Kaposi (apparently in reference to his home town of Kaposvár). It is reported that the rationalization for the name change was that ‘Kohn’ was a common name carried by hundreds of people of various classes and of different professions and that mistakes were constantly and increasingly made about persons carrying the same name. At Vienna University alone there were five doctors with a similar surname; one even with the same given name Moriz. He was concerned about the possibility that his scientific work would mistakenly be credited to colleagues bearing the same surname. Kaposi explicitly stated that it was for these reasons alone that he wished to change his name.

Kaposi was a very proud and self confident man. He used to add “mihi” to newly described entities, e.g. Xeroderma pigmentosum so as to make absolutely certain that HE was the original author and not somebody else!

Not everybody liked him: ‘On disait de Kaposi qu’il avait pris la fille de Hebra, sa maison, sa chaire et sa clientèle, laissant le reste à son beau-frère Hans Hebra.‘ [It was said of Kaposi that he took Hebra’s daughter, his house, his pulpit, and his clientele, leaving the rest to his brother-in-law Hans Hebra] – William Dubreuilh (1857-1935), first professor and chairman of dermatology in Bordeau

  • Holubar K, Fatovic-Ferencic S. An historical reappraisal on Moriz Kaposi’s death centennial. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 2001;113:885-893
  • Braun M. Moriz kaposi, MD. CA Cancer J Clin. 1982;32:340–341
  • Karamanou M, Antoniou C, Stratigos AJ, Saridaki Z, Androutsos G. The eminent dermatologist Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902) and the first description of idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcoma of the skin. J BUON. 2013 Oct-Dec;18(4):1101-5. [PMID 24344048]
  • Oriel JD. Moritz Kaposi (1837-1902). International Journal of STD and Aids. 1997;8:715-717
  • Ferrari B, Taliercio V, Luna P, Abad ME, Larralde M. Kaposi’s varicelliform eruption: A case series. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2015 Nov-Dec; 6(6): 399–402. [PMC4693351]


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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