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Edward Jenner - Smallpox

60 second histories

This video covers:  Edward Jenner explains what smallpox is, why people feared it so much and how inoculations were sometimes used to protect people.

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I am Edward Jenner, a doctor from Berkeley in Gloucestershire. I’m famous for my vaccination against smallpox, but what do you know about this terrible disease? Smallpox is very contagious, it is spread by the saliva of an infected person, so if one coughs on you, you could catch the disease. If you become infected, the smallpox rash will show up as blisters on your skin that fill with pus and then crust over, you will also get a fever, headache, backache and feel very tired, and if you survive you’ll be scarred with pock marks all over your body. Many people naturally feared smallpox; so in order to protect themselves they would pay a doctor to inoculate them, which meant taking a small amount of pus from an infected person and inserting it into a cut on your arm. Doing this should give you a mild form of the disease, but sometimes it went terribly wrong and many people became ill after being inoculated and even died. Doctors could make a fortune out of inoculations so not everyone could afford to have it done.
Medicine & Health
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Medicine & health
Edward Jenner
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