Smallpox: first method of prevention (inoculation)
Epidemics of smallpox broke out every few years in Britain. Many died.
In the 18th century, a method of prevention was introduced to Britain from China, where it had been used for centuries. Chinese doctor had noticed that people who had suffered from a mild form of smallpox, often survived during later epidemics. They developed a method of inoculation.
This meant spreading a small amount of matter from a smallpox scab onto an open cut in the skin.
This gave people a mild dose of the disease and protected them from the full force of a severe attack of the disease.
Inoculation reduced the likelihood of someone dying from smallpox, but people often died from the mild dose that they were given. others became carriers and passed it on to people who they came into contact with.
So, some refused the treatment.
The second method of smallpox prevention. -Edward
Edward Jenner was a doctor.
When he offered inoculation against smallpox, he was puzzled to find that so many people refused it.
He discovered from local farmers, that people believed they would not catch smallpox, if they had already has a mild form of cowpox.
Jenner examined this and discovered that dairy maids who often caught cowpox, seemed less likely than others to catch smallpox.
Jenner experimented and recorded his observations. He then concluded that cowpox protects the human body from the infection of smallpox.
There was a lot of opposition to Jenner's work and the society for publication were reluctant to publishing his findings/results. So, Jenner published them himself.
The second method of smallpox prevention. -Edward
He named the technique he found called vaccination (Vacca meaning cow in Latin).
His book was widely read and distributed.
Parliament gave Jenner £30,000 to open up a vaccination clinic in London.
By 1803 doctors were using this technique in America.
In 1852 (more than 50 years after Jenner's discovery), the British government made vaccinations compulsory.
How people explained disease in the 1800s... #1
For centuries common sense told people that there was a connection between dirt and disease, but no one had been able to explain what this connection was.
In the early 1800s the most popular explanation was miasma or bad air. poisonous fumes were given off from rubbish and decaying matter and the fumes were swept from one place to another by the wind.
This wasn't a new theory as during the great plague of 1665, people carried string smelling herbs around with them to overcome the fumes that they though spread disease (the Plague).
In the 19th century that theory seemed a better theory than ever.
This idea was wrong, but it was closer to the truth that the 4 humours were. (clearing away rubbish, did help to prevent disease).
How people explained disease in the 1800s... #2
- Leeuwenhoek made some of the earliest micro-scopes. however, they were fuzzy and only had one lens. he patiently used them to study water droplets to peppercorns. almost everything he looked at contained tiny organisms which he called animalcules.
- Microscopes weren't good enough for scientists to pursue Leeuwenhoek's idea further. By the 1800's purer glass was being produced and the science of optics was better understood.
- 1830-Joseph Lister developed a microscope that magnified 1000 without distortion.
- 1850's- Louis Pasteur became interested in micro-organisms when a brewing company asked him to find out why their vats of alcohol were going bad. He discovered that a microorganism was growing in the liquid. Pasteur solved this problem, showing *********** these harmful germs by boiling the liquid.
- Pasteur wanted to spread his theories even further. He proved the theory of 'Spontanious Generation' wrong. this was the theory that the organisms are the RESULT of decay. He proved that 'The Germ Theory' was correct. This is the theory that living organisms fall from the air and CAUSE decay.
He became interested in Pasteur's germ theory.
He studied anthrax from 1875-1878. It was a disease that affected both humans and animals.
The German government gave him a full time job and a talented team of bacteriologists to continue his research. His methods were followed by other scientists, in their research for the causes of disease.
Koch experimented a lot and in the end proved the bacteria that caused anthrax was correct. He also perfected a better medium for growing and observing bacteria, and a way of staining the bacteria so that they could be observed more easily.
Whilst looking for the bacteria that caused blood poisoning, he couldn't see them, so he stained/dyed them purple to see them more easily. It was because of Koch, that the causes of TYPHOID, TUBERCULOSIS, CHOLERA etc...
Pateur and Chicken Cholera
Pasteur thought a lot about Jenner's vaccination for smallpox. he was sure that smallpox was not the only disease that could be prevented by a vaccine. But as he didn't know how a vaccination worked, he had to continue his search by trial and error.
In 1879, Pasteur was researching Chicken Cholera. This lead to an amazing discovery. He discovered that the old germs immunised chickens against disease in an experiment. Clearly the exposure to the air had weakened the germs. Pasteur was now confident on this method, and soon turned his attention to rabies in 1882. he soon developed a vaccine for this after many careful experiments. And soon people from all over Europe were flocking to Europe were flocking to Paris to be treated by Pasteur.