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The Eradication of Smallpox - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780120834754, 9780080531212

The Eradication of Smallpox

1st Edition

Edward Jenner and The First and Only Eradication of a Human Infectious Disease

Author: Hervé Bazin
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120834754
eBook ISBN: 9780080531212
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th December 1999
Page Count: 246
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Simply, and with great humanity, The Eradication of Smallpox tells the story of smallpox - it's origins, the horror of the disease, and the millions of people killed or disfigured by it. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it is estimated that one out of every ten people died from the disease; some say one out of every seven. Smallpox attacked very young children in particular.

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.

Key Features

  • 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

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Foreword. Chronology: The life of Edward Jenner Introduction. 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? Conclusion. Some comments on current immunity to smallpox. Glossary. References. Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2000
14th December 1999
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Hervé Bazin

Hervé Bazin is Professeur Extraordinaire at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Louvain, Belgium.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Louvain, Faculty of Medicine, Experimental Immunology Unit, Brussels, Belgium


"The copious illustrations are of considerable interest. ...Historians of medicine and of public health may want to add it to their collections principally for its illustrations and extended references." —Warren Winkelstein, Jr. for BULL. HIST. MED., 2002

"Written in a concise, nontechnical style by a respected immunologist, both the general public and health professionals will find this a fascinating book." —CHOICE, 2001

"...fresh, enjoyable account of smallpox eradication... [The author] displays a remarkable knowledge and interest in the life and activities of Edward Jenner... Though originally written in French, this translation by Andrew and Glenise Morgan is faultless, and I strongly recommend this book to all students of immunology, virology, and vaccinology." —Brian W.J. Mahy, National Center for Infectious Diseases, in VIRUS RESEARCH, 2001

"We owe much to Edward Jenner, and I encourage everyone who is interested in this story and its important impact upon the disciplines of science and medicine to read Dr. Bazin's book. I imagine that you too will be unable to put it down until you have read it from cover to cover." —John A.T. Young, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin at Madison, in CELL, 2000

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