Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner and smallpox (:

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Edward Jenner 1749 1823
This picture shows
Edward Jenner giving
the first vaccination
against smallpox to a
young boy in 1769
Edward Jenner trained as a doctor in London before
becoming an army surgeon. After his time in the army
he spent the rest of his life as a country doctor in
Smallpox was the biggest killer disease in the
eighteenth century. The disease was mostly seen in
babies and young children. Like most doctors of the
time, Jenner wanted to find a cure for this deadly
Edward Jenner often treated milkmaids for the milder
form of the disease, cowpox but noted that they never
caught smallpox, even when there was an epidemic in
the area.
In 1718 a Turkish idea called inoculation was introduced
to England. The idea was to soak a thread in pus from
the sores of a victim who had mild smallpox then pull the
thread through a cut made on a healthy person.
Sometimes the person had a mild form of the disease
then recovered but sometimes the inoculation resulted
in a severe case of smallpox followed by death.
Jenner had the idea of using cowpox instead of
smallpox for the inoculation. He chose an eight year old
boy to inoculate with cowpox. The boy was a little unwell

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Jenner then inoculated the boy with
smallpox. The boy did not get the disease. Jenner had
made a breakthrough! He called his new method of
inoculation vaccination (vacca is the latin word for cow)
Although his vaccination worked Jenner could not
explain how and some doctors were reluctant to use a
method without explanation. However, many people
supported vaccination including the royal family. By
1853 the government had made vaccination
compulsory. Smallpox began to disappear.…read more


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