Smallpox And Vaccination Theory

1546 Words 7 Pages
Smallpox is a highly communicable disease that is spread by breath, contact, and clothing. It has been dated back to ancient times with descriptions as early as 10th century texts. Up until around the 18th century, contracting smallpox was considered “normal”. Every kid got smallpox and it was seen as just a part of growing up. Before the germ theory people thought that getting ill from a disease was God’s will. Since before 1880 there was not sufficient technology to detect microbes, the only explanation people could come up with for why people got sick was because it was part of “God’s plan”. Later on these theories were disproved thanks to modern technology, but during the time between then and now, medical advances only took one step at …show more content…
Inoculation is what started the path to vaccinations. Since smallpox was such a common disease, communities tried to prevent it the best they could. These folk practices were used in many parts of the world like Turkey, Asia, China, and India. The two most common practices included inserting pus into an incision made on the arm and breathing in crushed smallpox scabs into the nose. Both of these methods were used on healthy children since once you acquire the smallpox disease you are automatically immune to it. Inoculation differs from vaccination based on the virus placed inside the body. A vaccination is performed with a weakened stand of a virus. The immune system is then triggered to protect the body if it was to come into contact with the virus. Inoculation on the other hand is the direct virus being place inside the body. The result of this is the inoculated …show more content…
Scientists tried to create a more effective version of inoculation by making the strand of smallpox used milder and inserting the live virus into a smaller puncture wound. This reduced the mortality rate to 1 death in 600 people. Inoculation houses started to become more popular. This is where parents would send their recently inoculated children to stay the whole time they exhibited symptoms. This method wasn 't the most ideal, which motivated scientist to create a more effective way to prevent smallpox. An English physician and scientist, Edward Jenner is known as the pioneer of the smallpox vaccination. Jenner discovered that milkmaids (women who collected milk from cows) were immune to smallpox without contracting the virus. After talking to the women, he figured out that the women with cuts on their hands were milking cows that had cowpox. The milkmaids never ended up getting sick from the cowpox, but as a result were immune to smallpox. Jenner observed this and coined the term vaccination from his conclusion that if he took the cowpox from the cow and injected into humans like the poke and stick method of inoculation, the patient’s wont become ill from the virus and in turn will just be immune to smallpox. The word vaccine comes from the medical term of cowpox, variola vaccinia which is what Jenner used to create the first vaccine against

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