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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, smallpox pioneer.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, smallpox pioneer.

H413/0158

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Mary Montagu. Engraving of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), British smallpox pioneer. Montagu was the daughter of the Duke of Kingston and used her father's library to educate herself. As the wife of the British ambassador to Constant- inople (Istanbul, Turkey), she witnessed a form of inoculation against smallpox. This variolation involved inoculating patients with fluid from the pustules of people who had mild smallpox. Montagu inoculated her own family then introduced the practice to Britain, from where it spread to Europe and North America. The inoculations were fatal in about 3% of cases and were superceded by Edward Jenner's cowpox vaccine in 1798.

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