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Poxviruses pp 423-434 | Cite as

Historic aspects and early smallpox management approaches in the New World

  • Axel Schmidt
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)

Abstract

Smallpox is an ancient burden of mankind. It was an established disease of the Old World brought into the New World in the post-Columbian era, although preventive efforts seem to have been made in non-European countries long before this time. After smallpox rapidly spread throughout the New World, outstanding achievements in early disease management were made there. During the Boston smallpox epidemic in 1721/1722, a clergyman, Cotton Mather, and a physician, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, introduced immunization against smallpox into the New World against tremendous opposition. Boylston communicated his immunization experiences to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society of London in 1726. The state of Massachusetts subsequently released a public health law, the “Act to Prevent the Spreading of Contagious Sickness”. These important contributions to the control of smallpox are not sufficiently recognized. The work of these two “forgotten persons” in the history of smallpox was significant in its own right and it seems likely to have played an important part in the rapid acceptance of Jennerx2019;s vaccination approach to the control of smallpox initiated 70 years later in 1796.

Keywords

Historic Aspect Infectious Material Immunization Experience Author Unknown 20th Dynasty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Microbiology and VirologyUniversity Witten/HerdeckeWittenGermany

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