NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of the inoculation of the vaccine against smallpox (variola) made in 1827. Smallpox until the beginning of the 19th century was one of the most dreaded diseases resulting in death in one case out of three. The English physician Jenner (1749-1823) obtained the first vaccine. He noticed that people who caught cowpox, a mild disease of cattle resembling smallpox, was also immune to smallpox. In two successful experiments in 1796 and 1798 he inoculated a child with fluid coming from a blister of a person affected by cowpox. In a few years vaccination spread to all parts of Europe eradicating this terrible disease.
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