Smallpox was a highly contagious, deadly disease which likely first appeared around the 3rd century BCE in Egypt. From then on, it followed trade routes and colonization, decimating populations in many countries. The development of the smallpox vaccine can be traced back many centuries, to people in India, China, West Africa, and the Ottoman Empire who used a technique known of variolation to inject healthy people with pus from those afflicted by smallpox. In the late 18th century in England, Dr. Edward Jenner popularized and advocated for the injection of cowpox cells to immunize humans against smallpox, leading to the eradication of the disease by 1980.
Princesses, Slaves, and Explosives: The Scandalous Origin of Vaccines by Kiona Smith-Strickland, Gizmodo
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