Smallpox Vaccination

The History of Variolation

The exact origins of variolation (also known as “inoculation”) are not well known. However, it is agreed that the practice started somewhere in Asia, in either China or India. (It is possible that it started in both places at around the same time.) In China, scabs from smallpox pustules would be dried in the sun and then inhaled by people seeking to be inoculated. The drying of the scabs would weaken the virus — or make less of it viable — and the inoculated person would (hopefully) not develop the full-blown symptoms of smallpox. In India, the method was similar to what would migrate west to the Middle East, North Africa and eventually Europe. That method involved lancing the pustule of someone recovering from smallpox and then using that same lance to transfer some of the pustule material (pus) into the arm of a healthy person.

The United Kingdom Has Lost Its Measles Elimination Status

Recently, measles has made a comeback in countries around the world where it was eliminated. Cases imported by un-vaccinated people have triggered local outbreaks in places around the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Africa. Today, the World Health Organization and Public Health England have announced that measles is no longer considered eliminated in the United Kingdom. The United States and other developed nations where measles was once considered eliminated might be next.