Infectious Disease

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Infectious Disease

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Blame It On Jenner

Edward Jenner vaccinated his own children [except with cowpox, not smallpox] to test what centuries of peasants and village folk already knew—that inoculations saved lives.  Many people in rural areas of Greece, Arabia, North Africa, Persia, India, and China used smallpox scabs and pustules to inoculate themselves and their families.

Occasionally the procedure would backfire, and patients would get really sick, and some would die.  Jenner’s discovery of milkmaid’s immunity to smallpox [via exposure to cowpox], brought to his attention by another milkmaid, led him to the use of cowpox for a safer inoculation technique. Dr. Jenner wasn't the first to 1774 Benjamin…

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Last Updated : Friday, January 17, 2020