Edward Jenner Facts
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Interesting Edward Jenner Facts
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But Jenner had no explanation for why this method worked - no-one could see the virus with the microscopes of the time. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society the following year. It was met with some interest but further proof was requested. Jenner proceeded to vaccinate and monitor several more children, including his own son. The full results of his study were published in , but his apparent discovery was met with much opposition, and even ridicule.
In time the value of his vaccine was recognised, but as many poorer communities had limited access to medical treatment it was several decades before its full benefits were realised. Key dates: - attended the grammar school at Wotton under Edge. Related Objects Edward Jenner's ivory vaccination points, England, vaccination point. Lancet owned by Edward Jenner lancet. Around a third of adults infected with smallpox would be expected to die, and eight out of 10 infants. In the early 18th Century, the disease is calculated to have killed some , people every year in Europe alone. Ports were particularly vulnerable. But even if you lived, the disease had lasting effects, leaving some of the survivors blind and all of them with nasty scars.
Treatments ranged from the useless to the bizarre and also useless. The intoxication might have at least dulled the pain. There was, however, one genuine cure. Known as inoculation, or variolation, it involved taking the pus from someone suffering with smallpox and scratching it into the skin of a healthy individual. Another technique involved blowing smallpox scabs up the nose. First practiced in Africa and Asia before being eventually brought to Europe in the 18th Century, and North America by an enslaved man named Onesimus , inoculation usually resulted in a mild case of the disease.
But not always. Some people contracted full-on smallpox and all those inoculated became carriers of the disease, inadvertently passing it on to people they met. A better solution was needed. Before Jenner's involvement, the treatments for smallpox ranged from the useless to the bizarre Credit: Getty Images. By the s, it was relatively well known in rural England that a group of people seemed to be immune to smallpox.
Milkmaids instead contracted a relatively mild cattle disease called cowpox, which left little scarring. During a smallpox epidemic in the west of England in , farmer Benjamin Jesty decided to try something. He scratched some pus from cowpox lesions on the udders of a cow into the skin of his wife and sons. None of them contracted smallpox. The scabs fell off, often leaving deeply pock-marked skin. This is why people were so willing to inoculate their children. The English physician Edward Jenner — inoculated patients at his Gloucestershire practice. In the surrounding countryside, he noticed a similar practice among local farming communities. Milkmaids, who were renowned for their clear complexions, were often immune to smallpox and its scarring pock marks.
Their work brought them into contact with cowpox, a mild disease of cattle that only left a single pustule on the hands of people who milked the cows. Locals who were aware of this phenomenon began to inoculate themselves with the cowpox pustule as a way to ward off the more deadly smallpox. Jenner decided to test the effectiveness of this practice. In he took some matter from a cowpox pustule on the hand of milkmaid Sarah Nelmes and injected it into the arm of a young boy called James Phipps. James developed a scab and experienced some soreness and mild fever for a day.
Six weeks later, Jenner inoculated young James with smallpox matter and the boy showed no signs of the disease. Jenner published his findings in a short treatise. He called the procedure vaccination after the Latin word for cow vacca. Today people can get vaccines against a whole host of infectious diseases, but smallpox is not one of them. Thanks to a global eradication programme of mass vaccination, the entire world population was officially free of this life-threatening disease by An explanation had to wait for the science of bacteriology to develop at the end of the s. The French scientist Louis Pasteur — believed that germs microorganisms were responsible for infectious diseases such as smallpox.
He tested his 'germ theory of disease' on anthrax, an infectious disease of people and animals. Through his microscope, he identified a microorganism in infected blood, which he believed was responsible for the disease. Pasteur developed a solution containing a weakened form of the bacteria, which he could use as an inoculating agent. He was able to measure the success of his experiment by the absence of bacteria in the inoculated host.
Both vaccines and antitoxins are derived from toxoids, modified bacterial toxins that stimulate protective antibodies in the blood. Antitoxins are used as a treatment or cure when the infection is already present in the person. Vaccines, on the other hand, are examples of prophylactics - they prevent a disease from developing by stimulating the body's immune system to produce antibodies in the blood.
If a person has a disease, their immune system is already overwhelmed by the infection so a vaccine wouldn't help. Antitoxins work by harnessing the immunity of another person or animal to boost the immune system of the infected person. Antitoxins were developed by two researchers, Shibasaburo Kitasato and Emil von Behring , who inoculated guinea pigs against diphtheria so they were immune to the disease.
They then isolated a serum from the blood of the immunised animals and used it to treat guinea pigs that already had diphtheria. They found that the serum cured the sick animals of the disease. Antitoxins are made by collecting and purifying serum from animals usually horses inoculated with a non-lethal dose of disease toxin. Like vaccines, there are specific antitoxins for specific diseases, and the same technique is used for manufacturing treatments for other toxins such as snake venom.
In the s, some people objected to compulsory vaccination because they felt it violated their personal liberty. The Vaccination Act of introduced mandatory smallpox vaccination in England and Wales for infants up to three months old. The Act was met with opposition from people who demanded the right to control their bodies and those of their children.