Fact of the Day
A farmer named Benjamin Jesty noticed the significance of cowpox as a vaccination. He saw milk maids with a history of cowpox able to safely care for those infected with smallpox. He figured that infecting more people with cowpox would significantly lessen the epidemic. He tested it on his wife first (1770s). Jesty had juvenile smallpox and therefore was also immune.
Cowpox lasts for a week at the most and is considerably more mild than smallpox, which has an almost 50% mortality rate.
Claiming most of the fame from the vaccination was Edward Jenner. He did of course spend more time, effort, money, and medical knowledge on the subject than Jesty. Jenner was a lot more known and as a doctor, a lot more respected. His perfected version of the vaccination was first used in the 1790s.
The root word of vaccination actually means cow in Latin. Smallpox was deemed eradicated by the World Health Organization in the late 1970s. Due to the possibility of needing the agent in tact to suppress an unseen epidemic, two places still possess smallpox. The Cold War superpowers Russia and the United States keep the virus under lock and key or under the microscope. (More specifically, Atlanta, Georgia and Koltsovo, Russia.)
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