Have you ever heard about a disease called smallpox? I would not be surprised to find out you did not. It was officially declared eradicated in 1979. It was the first disease completely defeated by humans. How did this happen? Well, let me explain everything from the beginning!

According to the dictionary smallpox is a ‘highly contagious viral disease characterized by high fever, severe prostration, and a pinkish rash’. It was one of the most deadly viruses in the history. Smallpox killed millions of people all over the world, and those who managed to defeat the disease were often left with pockmarks on their faces. Others would go blind. The virus attacked mostly children and infants, however it was dangerous for adults as well.

Smallpox most probably originated in ancient Egypt or India. It spread around the world, leaving its deadly traces in every country. In XVIII century something changed. An English doctor, Edward Jenner, noticed that women who worked with cows did not get smallpox. He discovered that it was because they all developed cowpox, a less serious disease. He decided to test his theory, that cowpox made human body immune to smallpox. He injected cowpox to an eight-year-old boy. The disease progressed quite softly. After some time, when the boy became healthy again, Jenner tried to inject him smallpox. It turned out he failed: the boy’s body became immune to this virus. This way the first vaccine was created (from Latin name of cow - vacca).

I strongly believe that this was one of the greatest discoveries in medicine. It probably saved millions or maybe even billions of people. I can not even imagine what kind of tragedy for the human kind it would be, if these vaccines were never developed. Edward Jenner was not the first person to reveal some sort of cure for smallpox, but it was his remedy that was the most efficient. And now, hundreds of years later I think it can honestly be said, that the extermination of smallpox was possible thanks to Edward Jenner’s findings!




Interesting facts:


Smallpox killed Queen Mary II of England, Emperor Joseph I of Austria, King Luis I of Spain, Tsar Peter II of Russia, Queen Ulrika Elenora of Sweden, and King Louis XV of France.


Scars on Stalin’s face were caused by smallpox. He had gone through it when he was still a little boy.


Before his death, Edward Jenner proved that birds do not fall asleep during winter, but they leave to other, warmer countries. (It wasn’t obvious at the time!)


The last person  infected by smallpox was recorded in Somalia in 1977.





Postat av: Hanna

Amazing post Kamila!

I agree with you that vaccine is one of the greatest or the greatest inventions ever, it has saved so many lives!

Again, really liked your entry! =)

2011-04-11 @ 19:19:13
Postat av: jakob lundén

Really good entry!

Edward can't have imagined what a discover he had come up with! I absolutely agree with that vaccine is one of the most important dicovers through time but I don't like that doctors in some cases gives out penicilin too widely because in the future won't we be able to use it while the bacterias will become immune against it. I'm sure that Jenner would have been agianst it!

2011-04-13 @ 21:36:05
Postat av: Marielle

Really good entry Kamila! :)

I totally agree with you that vaccine is one of the greatest discoveries in medicine. Think if it didn't existed. I don't think that the population in the world should be so big as it is now.

Btw, a really good idea with the intresting facts! :)

2011-04-14 @ 16:24:24
Postat av: Erik J

Nice entry! I also believe that the vaccine is important and that it save lives! :)

2011-04-15 @ 10:40:29

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