The story progresses with the practice of variolation, the life of Edward Jenner who first proposed 'vaccination' with cow pox vaccine (little James Phipps was the first person ever vaccinated in this way), the years of debate about the efficacy of this novel method, and the later worldwide initiatives to rid the planet of this horrific disease. In 1979, the story culminates in the only total eradication of an infectious disease that mankind has ever accomplished. This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of this momentous achievement.
In the intervening years, debate has raged about what we should do with the remaining smallpox viral stocks. Do we destroy them, so they can't fall into the hands of bioterrorists, or do we maintain them, in case they may be of use in some unexpected way, for therapeutic purposes? These questions are thoroughly discussed in the book.
* Covers the background, history and origin of smallpox, and brings the story up to the present day
* Gives full and interesting details of Jenner's life, and tells how this humble country doctor brought about a revolution in vaccination
* Includes many quotes from historical figures
* Features 120 high quality photographs, many originating from unique historical plates in the author's private collection
* Includes new research data
* Provides new views on the eradication and destruction of smallpox
Chronology: The life of Edward Jenner
For those who have forgotten or never knew what smallpox was like:
On the long struggle of man, before Jenner, to fight smallpox.
The life and work of Jenner:
The young Jenner (1749-1772).
Jenner, naturalist and country surgeon.
The myth becomes reality (1795-1798).
Jenner's hard-won victory in England, his own country.
The particular case of Napoleonic France.
Vaccination spreads across Europe and the United States and then throughout the rest of the world.
Honours and resentment for Jenner (1801-1823).
The perfect ending to the story: the eradication of smallpox:
Post-Jennerian vaccination (1823-1979).
Smallpox vaccination: its value and its limitations.
The anti-vaccination movements (1798-1979).
The eradication of smallpox: Jenner's posthumous triumph.
Jenner, vaccination and ethics (1796 to the present day).
What should be done about the smallpox virus?
Some comments on current immunity to smallpox.