The Smallpox Vaccine: How Science Changed the World

Timeline created by mobley
  • 430

    Possible First Description of Smallpox

    Possible First Description of Smallpox
    A case of the plague in Athens, Greece, circa 430 CE, has been attributed to smallpox (Littman & Littman, 1969) rather than being a true case of plague.
  • Mar 12th, 0900

    Smallpox first described in Persia (now Iran/Iraq) by physician, Rhazes

    Smallpox first described in Persia (now Iran/Iraq) by physician, Rhazes
    Smallpox was first described around 900 CE by the Persian physician, Rhazes, who both described the disease (Meyerhof, 1935; Hopkins, 1983) and attempted to provide a distinction between smallpox and measles (The College of Physicians of Philadephia [CPP], 2012; Small & Small, 1996).
  • Mar 12th, 1000

    Tibetian Statesman Wang Tan uses ground smallpox scabs to inoculate his one surviving child

    Tibetian Statesman Wang Tan uses ground smallpox scabs to inoculate his one surviving child
    The earliest attempts to confront the smallpox virus were based upon anecdotal observations and traditional folk medicine (Hopkins, 1983; Small & Small, 1996; Stein, 2011). In 1000 CE Tibet, it is recorded that the statesman Wang Tan had ground smallpox scabs administered by a nun with medical knowledge to his son in an attempt to save him from smallpox, which had already claimed the lives of his other children (Small & Small, 1996; CCP, 2012; Mercer, 1985).
    Image retrieved www.shen-nong.com
  • Smallpox Inoculation is introduced to the Western World

    Smallpox Inoculation is introduced to the Western World
    The practice of inoculation was not known to Western civilization until the 1720’s (Mercer, 1985). In 1718 Lady Mary Wortley Montague, wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, purportedly had her son inoculated after learning of the Eastern practice while in Istanbul. Image retrieved from: http://www.yorkshiresfavourites.org/geisha/inc/img.php/geisha/assets/images/MS_VIS_4279.jpg/420/1/fill.jpg
  • Inoculation Practices Reach the United States

    Inoculation Practices Reach the United States
    Inoculation is also now in practice in the United States by this time, with the scholar, Cotton Mather, having his children inoculated after exposure to the practice through his slave (Hopkins, 1983). Image Retrieved 12Mar2012 from: http://web.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap1/mather.gif
  • Newgate Castle Prisoners Inoculated and Survive Smallpox

    Newgate Castle Prisoners Inoculated and Survive Smallpox
    1721, six prisoners at Newgate castle in London were inoculated with smallpox (Small & Small, 1996). All six survived the procedure despite a period of illness, and this marked the beginning of the practice of inoculation in England.
  • Edward Jenner begins experiments with smallpox

    Edward Jenner begins experiments with smallpox
    Presented with the lore that milkmaids exposed to cowpox were immune to smallpox , in 1796 Jenner began his experiments with smallpox vaccination. In the famously recounted experiment (Hopkins, 1983; Barquet & Domingo, 1997) that would forever change medicine and harken the vaccination era, Jenner took fluid from the cowpox pustules on the hands of milkmaid, Sally Nelmes and scraped it into the skin of and eight year old child, John Phipps. http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSTuJbA7sVldf
  • Jenner publishes research on smallpox vaccine

    Jenner publishes research on smallpox vaccine
    Jenner wrote and published “Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae” in 1798: the book which spread the idea of “vaccination” to the medical world. Ironically, the work was not taken seriously for several years. Image retrieved from: http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTDvJj2PT-5fDnrex9Nm0bicoRhKlj63AQ3NCKhuSSnC3fQdne7
  • Sweden is first country to mandate smallpox vaccination

    Sweden is first country to mandate smallpox vaccination
    During the 18th century, smallpox caused between 8-20% of all fatalities in England, Norway, and Sweden (Stein, 2011). As early as 1817, Sweden required smallpox vaccination by all citizens (Mercer, 1985; Small & Small, 1996). Image retrieved from: flaghacker.com
  • England mandates smallpox vaccination

    England mandates smallpox vaccination
    England adopts requirement that all English citizens must receive the smallpox vaccine.
    Image retrieved from: flags.net
  • Smallpox eradication efforts begun by World Health Organization

    Smallpox eradication efforts begun by World Health Organization
    In 1958, the World Health Organization began smallpox eradication efforts to support the compulsory vaccination movement, which was too slowly gaining ground.
    Image retreived from: rense.com
  • Smallpox eradicated in the U.S.

    Smallpox eradicated in the U.S.
    Expansion of vaccination programs and international efforts led to smallpox being declared eradicated in the U.S. in 1972.
    Image retreived from: crwimages.com
  • Last case of smallpox reported worldwide

    Last case of smallpox reported worldwide
    the last known case of smallpox was reported in 1977. The image shows the official smallpox eradication document.
    Image retreived from: flickr.com
  • Smallpox officially declared eradicated worldwide

    Smallpox officially declared eradicated worldwide
    In 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated worldwide. The smallpox vaccine is no longer compulsory – in fact it is no longer administered as part of the vaccine retinue.
    Image retrieved from: theloudproject.blogspot.com
  • Period:
    430
    to

    Smallpox claims millions of lives

    Smallpox outbreaks are one of the most feared threats to existence prior to the vaccination era.
  • Period:
    Mar 12th, 0850
    to
    Mar 12th, 0950

    Smallpox first described in Tibet

    The disease was also found in descriptions from Tibet (Hopkins, 1983; Small & Small, 1996) suggesting it was known in that country around the same time period.
  • Period:
    Mar 12th, 1000
    to

    Inoculation (variolation) used to prevent smallpox

    Early inoculation, called variolation, from the time of China in 1000 CE to the late 1700’s involved the practice of using smallpox scabs from the skin of infected individuals and scraping it into the skin of healthy individuals (Hopkins, 1983; Mercer, 1985). Unfortunately, this often led to the healthy individual developing smallpox, though because there did appear to be some protective benefit, the practice had gained in popularity (Razzell, 1974 in Mercer, 1985)
  • Period: to

    Edward Jenner begins apprenticeship under John Hunter

    Edward Jenner, began his apprenticeship with the surgeon and naturalist, John Hunter. Early in his career, Jenner became well-known for his studies of cuckoos and his reputation of a naturalist in his own right led to an invitation to join the Royal Society.
  • Period: to

    Smallpox eradication efforts are underway

    Beginning in Europe, smallpox eradication is undertaken through vaccination. A country by country effort becomes the focus of the World Health Organization goal of worldwide eradication.
  • Period: to

    40-50% of Infant mortalities in the U.S. caused by smallpox

    In the United States, where infectious diseases were estimated to cause 40-50 percent of infant mortalities between 1870 and 1900 (Stein, 2011), smallpox vaccination remained much a state-mandate until the mid-twentieth century.
  • Period: to

    Smallpox eradication efforts implemented in the U.S.

    Smallpox vaccination shifts from state to federal mandate