“The smallpox has gone out of late, perhaps it may be followed by the great”, so wrote Byron in the early 19th century. The great pox, syphilis, has sadly not followed the disappearance of smallpox, but smallpox has been virtually eliminated. This lecture by Dr Tim Mason (University of Portsmouth) follows the history of the disease from earliest records in the times of the Pharaoh Ramses V to its eradication in the twentieth century. The story takes in the life and times of Edward Jenner, our Gloucestershire neighbour and the star of the story, who developed the first vaccine and who envisaged the demise of the disease more than 150 years before it actually occurred. But it hasn’t gone completely.
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