Smallpox has been known since ancient times and has always been considered one of the most terrible and devastating diseases. Usually it causes 1 / 6-1 / 8 of all cases and deaths in young children has reached 1/3. In relation to total mortality at a fraction of smallpox fell out 1/4 of all the dying. And this sad situation was observed until the end of the XVIII century. For example, in Germany alone in 1796, 70 thousand people died of smallpox. Generally it believed that from this infection were dying to 1, 5 million people a year in Europe. There have been a large-scale epidemic. So, exchanged a in the XVI century in America, smallpox shot is especially terrible and abundant harvest - in a short period of her died a few tens of millions of indigenous people, the Indians. But even if smallpox spared life, she often left behind indelible marks. Many people were mutilated scars, she was deprived of other health, vision and hearing. In medieval Europe, smallpox epidemics were so frequent and totally that has developed a strong belief in those days doctors: each person must necessarily have been ill with smallpox. The famous doctor of the XVII century called Sydenham pox "loathsome disease, which claimed more victims in the grave than any other epidemic than gunpowder and war." A well-known British historian Macaulay wrote: "pestilence or plague was more lethal than smallpox, but she visited our shores only once or twice in the memory of the people, while the smallpox persistently dwelt among us, filling the cemetery the dead, goading constant fear of all those who have not suffered from it, leaving the faces of the people whose lives it spared, ugly signs as the stigma of his power. "
From Smallpox was not drugs, but I have one more feature of the disease has been seen - people who recover from even the most mild form of it, the whole of life becomes immune to it. This was, as it were prompted by a terrible way to resist disease. China already 1000 years BC Doctors were able to vaccinate healthy human light smallpox and thus protect it from infection more severe form. From China, this method has spread throughout the East, and at the beginning of the XVIII century attracted the attention of Europeans. The wife of the English ambassador Duchess of Montagu imparted a mild form of smallpox his only daughter, and then preached vaccination in high English society. Usually for smallpox vaccination was chosen suitably mild smallpox, planted her healthy person, so that he bore it into harmless form. (In 1768 it was vaccinated smallpox Russian Empress Catherine II.) Despite the fact that in most cases the vaccine gave a good effect, sometimes have tragic outcomes, when grafted in place of the light developed a severe form of the disease, with all its terrible consequences. Therefore, the vaccine only a few dare, and his contemporaries looked at them as a desperate daredevils.
It is not difficult therefore to imagine how great was thanks to contemporary English doctor Edward Dzhennertu that at the end of the XVIII century opened a reliable and safe way to protect against this devastating infection. The essence of the opening Dzhennerta very simple - instead of the kind of human smallpox, he proposed to impart to people the form of smallpox, which occasionally hit the cows and the people who were dealing with dairy cattle (mainly milkmaids). The fact that the disease is similar to smallpox, is observed in many species of animals. Moreover, it has long been observed that in some species, it proceeds in very easy manner, and at the other, opposite, often takes dangerous. In particular, the cows were ill with smallpox is relatively rare, and transferred it very easily. It was also observed that milkmaids who recover from cowpox, have generally been immune to smallpox kind. Some doctors have tried to find an explanation for this phenomenon, but most medical scientists did not attach much importance to it as a solid pattern here has never been observed - though far less often than other, milkmaids (including recover from cowpox) still sometimes become victims of natural smallpox. Nearly every doctor, who had an extensive practice, could point to such cases.
Thus, Dzhennert was not the first to become interested cowpox, but it was his good fortune to make a discovery, forever immortalized his name. They say that one event caused him to focus on this issue. One day, when the young Dzhennert still at the doctor Daniel Lidlouva in Sodbury, turned to him for advice a poor peasant. After examining the patient, Dzhennert found her all the symptoms of smallpox and told her about it. "I can not smallpox, - answered him sick - because I had cowpox." Deep confidence with which the peasant woman said these words made a strong impression on the young Dzhennerta and gave him the following assumption: if cowpox transferred person much easier to natural, as it always occurs without death, it is evident that when it is the safety property enough call it artificially in the human body to protect it from all diseases of this smallpox.
By nature Dzhennert was very sociable and has repeatedly expressed this assumption colleagues. Few shared his confidence, but for the most Dzhennerta search for a safe smallpox vaccination became his lifework. However, it took many years of hard work, continuous monitoring and much thought before he found the right answers to all the questions. After finishing his education in London, rejected Dzhennert some very tempting offers (in particular, the famous explorer Captain Cook, going on a voyage around the world, offered him a place on his ship naturalist), went to his home and devoted himself to a rural practice. He always had a great interest in the diseases of domestic animals. Carefully studying skin diseases of cows, he finally noticed that the rash of smallpox they are not always the same, and made the correct assumption that, under the general title of smallpox may, generally speaking, hiding various diseases that have similar symptoms. But only those people who have been ill this cowpox, made immune to smallpox. Others only think they were sick of it. It is this small percentage, according Dzhennerta, and were those unfortunate milkmaids, who fell ill with smallpox. And if so, then, should definitely cowpox to protect each person she had been ill from smallpox kind.
The assumption is needed to confirm and Dzhennert decided to conduct an experiment. May 14, 1796, when in the vicinity of his home town appeared cowpox, he is in the presence of several doctors grafted smallpox healthy 8-year-old boy - has made two small cuts on his hand and introduced into the wound vaccine venom taken from the right-hand woman, accidentally infect smallpox from cows during milking. The pustules, reproduced in this way on a child hand, had much in common with pustules from the inoculation of natural human smallpox, but the general malaise was barely noticeable. Ten days later, the boy was completely healthy. June 1 of the same year Dzhennert took the matter of human pustules, sick with smallpox and inoculated it grafted boy. With feverish impatience he waited for the results of his experience. It took three days, the redness at the site of inoculation had disappeared without a trace of human smallpox - the boy was healthy. Dzhennert continued to watch him, wanting to find out, how long will the effect of vaccination. Several months later, the boy made a second inoculation of smallpox, after five years - the third. The result was the same. He was completely immune to this disease.
However, this finding did not mean victory over the terrible plague. Cases of cowpox were very rare, sometimes from one outbreak to another took place a few years. If you had to wait for each such case, to obtain material for protective vaccination, their effectiveness would be very small. It is therefore very important was the second series of experiments, conducted Dzhennertom two years later. In the spring of 1798 Dzhennert planted cowpox boy directly from the cow, and then the next - with the human person (five generations). Then he made an inoculation to his youngest son, Robert. Watching all the graft, it is found that the strength of the cowpox safety does not change if vaccinate her from the man had been ill with cowpox, to a man, and retains the properties of the vaccine lymph, taken directly from the cow. This was found a way to get material for vaccinations in almost unlimited quantities of each person who has been vaccinated smallpox, could give their blood for vaccine manufacture. Effective remedy against smallpox was found.
In the same year Dzhennert published a small booklet of 75 pages, which simply and artlessly described his experiences. The emergence of this small compositions had a huge impact. Not all and not immediately accepted the idea of vaccinations. A few years continued fierce debate, but the amazing success of vaccination soon convinced even the most implacable opponents of smallpox vaccination. Indeed, compared with practiced before inoculation of smallpox vaccine Vaccinia has huge advantages. After cowpox gave only local minor effect, while vaccination of smallpox caused systemic disease, by virtue of which it was impossible to predict. Since the beginning of the XIX century vaccinated against smallpox began to do more and more and more people. In countries where across-vaccination, succeeded in reducing morbidity and mortality from smallpox to a minimum was introduced. It was one of the most brilliant victories ever won by human genius. Terrible disease, is carried away in times of epidemics many lives have been wiped out, so that in the XIX century, for most people the word "smallpox" was an empty phrase.
On Dzhennerta share fell a rare fortune - during the life of his achievements have been generally recognized. His eyes vaccination has spread around the world and brought its inventor loud glory. In various countries Dzhennerta name pronounced with gratitude. He has received numerous medals and honorary diplomas and became a member of all European Academies. Several Native American tribes of North America sent him an honorary belt, and the English Parliament gave him the prize of 20 thousand pounds as an expression of national gratitude for his discovery. His posthumous fame was no less. In 1853, at the opening of the monument Dzhennertu in London, Prince Albert said: "No doctor saved the life of such a significant number of people like this man."