Smallpox – A Short History of Vaccination (Part 2)

Janet Parker was the last person in the world to die from smallpox in 1978. She was working as a scientific photographer above one of the labs at Birmingham Medical School. The lab was working with smallpox and Parker contracted the disease on August 11th. She would die a month later.This event shook the world not only because the last smallpox case in the UK was 5 years prior, but because smallpox was on its way to being confined to the history books. … More Smallpox – A Short History of Vaccination (Part 2)

Infant Vaccination Model (From the Collection #21)

The Story Wax models (moulages) were important clinical teaching tools in many European and North American hospitals well into the 1940s. Joseph Towne (1806 –1879) was a British moulageur and sculptor who is best known for the creation of wax anatomical models, many of which still survive today and are on display in the Guy’s … More Infant Vaccination Model (From the Collection #21)

Lebenswecker (From the Collection #1)

The Story Carl Baunscheidt (1809-1873), a German mechanic and inventor, first produced the lebenswecker in 1848. Translated most directly as “life awakener”, the lebenswecker is comprised of six parts (a wooden cap, head cover, shaft, and plunger, and a metal needle head and spring), and is used to pierce the skin without drawing blood. Baunscheidt … More Lebenswecker (From the Collection #1)

Scarificator (From the Collection #2)

The Story By the 19th century, the scarificator was an essential tool in the practice of bloodletting. First developed in the early 1700s as a more humane and efficient bloodletting instrument than lancets and fleams, scarificators had multiple blades that shot out with the press of a spring-loaded lever creating an instantaneous series of parallel … More Scarificator (From the Collection #2)

The Spanish Flu at KGH: A Frequent and Quick Killer

The following data were obtained from the Admissions and Death Registers at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) for investigation during the research project. Within the Registers, cases of influenza were often associated with other diseases, most frequently pneumonia. If reference to ‘influenza’ was made in the patient’s Reason for Admittance, that individual was included in the cohort being studied. With such a high incidence of pneumonia developing from influenza during the Spanish flu, those with ‘pneumonia’ were also included in the cohort. However, because pneumonia may also develop from a myriad of conditions unrelated to the flu, diagnoses of ‘pneumonia and other non-influenzal disease’ were not included (e.g., anemia and pneumonia). … More The Spanish Flu at KGH: A Frequent and Quick Killer

The History of Vaccinations: The Build Up to the Spanish Flu

An understanding of disease resistance has existed in written records as far back as 429 BCE when the Greek historian Thucydides acknowledged that those who survived a smallpox epidemic in Athens were subsequently protected from the disease. Since a basic understanding of the biological underpinnings of infection was not understood for a long time, it was not until 900 AD when the Chinese developed a rudimentary smallpox inoculation. Chinese physicians noted how uninfected people who were exposed to a smallpox scab were less likely to acquire the disease or, if they did, that it was milder. The most common method of inoculation was to inhale crushed smallpox scabs through the nostrils. … More The History of Vaccinations: The Build Up to the Spanish Flu

Dr. Guilford B. Reed: The Influenza Vaccine That (sort of) Worked

Born in Port George, Nova Scotia in 1887, Dr. Guilford Bevil Reed grew up on the East coast as the son of the prominent ship builder and architect, William Reed. While living in the Annapolis Valley, Guilford developed a deep love of the natural world. He spent his days surrounded by five siblings and endless apple orchards, and maintained a curiosity that propelled him throughout his life. … More Dr. Guilford B. Reed: The Influenza Vaccine That (sort of) Worked

From Variolation to Cowpox Vaccination: The First Steps Towards Eradicating Smallpox

Edward Jenner looms large in the history of vaccination.  Known today as the “father of immunology,” Jenner is most famous for developing a vaccine against smallpox in the 1790s.  The vaccine brilliantly made use of common knowledge.  Milkmaids were known for having noticeably clear and smooth skin.  They had, it seemed, managed to develop an immunity to smallpox by suffering (and surviving) a bout of the much milder cowpox. … More From Variolation to Cowpox Vaccination: The First Steps Towards Eradicating Smallpox

Vaccines and Immunization: Epidemics, Prevention, and Canadian Innovation

There is significant public debate over the merits and risk of vaccinations, much of which is fueled by inflammatory rhetoric rather than facts and science.  This debate has raged ever since the first vaccine for smallpox was proposed by Dr. Edward Jenner in the 1790s and, doubtless, it will continue as new vaccines are developed.  … More Vaccines and Immunization: Epidemics, Prevention, and Canadian Innovation