Smallpox Essay

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…
In the article “The Worlds First Immunization Campaign: The Spanish Smallpox Vaccine Expedition, 1803-1813, Catherine Mark and José Rigau-Pérez analyzed the arm to arm vaccination method used in the campaign in order to illustrate the in humane and un fair methods on transporting the vaccination during this time. The expedition’s goal was to transport the smallpox vaccine “from Spain…to the coast of South America and up to…China” (Mark/Rigau-Peréz Pg 1). The only way they knew how to transport the vaccination was through arm to arm. This involved one person being vaccinated and brining that individual to take the pus from their arm to put into another persons arm to vaccinate. At the time it was the best way and ensured that vaccine kept its potency. The individuals they used to transport the vaccines ended up being orphaned children. On one voyage to the New World, “twenty-two non immune orphaned boys…would be vaccinated during the crossing by serial arm-to-arm inoculation” (Mark/Rigau-Peréz Pg 8). The children used for this expedition “were well treated…[since] the vaccination chain depended on their health” (Mark/Rigau-Peréz Pg 30) but “six percent of the sixty-two children…died” (Mark/Rigau-Peréz Ph 30). The state had no problem with using these “wards of the state as tools with which to improve public health”

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