Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination

Riedel, Stefan. “Edward Jenner and the History of Smallpox and Vaccination.” Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center). Baylor Health Care System, Jan. 2005. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

This article provides a brief history and description of method for combating the small pox disease prior to the creation of vaccines and the syringe as a method of administration. It was well known that people whom had previously contracted the small pox virus were immune to the disease. Therefore, they were often called upon to care for those afflicted with the disease. The idea soon spread that people could be protected from the disease if they were first introduced to less lethal strains. Because vaccines were not yet invented for this purpose, people were given the smallpox disease through inoculation. This involved using a lancet to cut a pustule from an infected individual to then insert it into a healthy patient through an incision in the arm or upper leg. This primitive inoculation had many issues associated with it, such as the transfer of other blood-borne diseases, like syphilis.

As this article is published on a government website, it is very credible. It references numerous scholarly sources and professionals within the field. It offers a very detailed description of the history of inoculation, as well as the eventual first steps towards the creation of a smallpox vaccine. There are also numerous pictures which aid in illustrating the primitive nature of inoculation procedures.

This reading highlights what technologies were in practice before the creation of modern administration techniques such as the syringe and needle. This shows the numerous risks involved with introducing infected pus into an open wound, and demonstrates the progress that has been made through the creation of new techniques.

Article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/


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