Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox by Gareth Williams

By Gareth Williams

The tale of the increase and fall of smallpox, the most savage killers within the historical past of mankind, and the single affliction ever to be effectively exterminated (30 years in the past subsequent yr) through a public future health crusade. Proceeds from the sale of this e-book will to to aid the Edward Jenner Museum in Berkeley, united kingdom (visit

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0. m. 40 She was stationed at the French military base in Langhouat, Algeria in spring 1945 and was then 36 years old. In her childhood, the local doctor had agreed to her father’s request to ‘forget to vaccinate her’ because her elder sister had reacted badly to vaccination. The isolation unit was on the other side of the oasis, some two or three miles away. There was no means of transport so it was arranged to get an ambulance sent from Algiers, some 400 miles away, to carry me the short distance.

The expert who recommended anal leech therapy in smallpox was Dr. Hubert Boëns of the Belgian Academy of Medicine. 22 More therapeutic suffering piled up for the Angel’s victims. Hippocrates et al. 23 Some doctors also withheld all fluids. Some patients might have preferred a raging thirst to the agony of trying to swallow with a badly ulcerated throat, but dehydration could rapidly endanger those already compromised by massive fluid losses across raw skin. Eventually, in the mid- 38 Angel of Death seventeenth century, Thomas Sydenham managed to swing fashion with the sensible measure of encouraging drinking.

Variola minor was so mild that most sufferers never bothered to consult a doctor or to isolate themselves, which favoured its rapid spread. By conferring immunity against major, it steadily crowded out its homicidal twin, especially in North America in the early 26 Angel of Death twentieth century (see Chapter 15). Elsewhere, Variola major remained the dominant threat and continued to kill 20 per cent of its victims, as it had done one or two centuries earlier. M. D. Emond Infectious Diseases, Chapter 14, 1977 A classical case of smallpox was unmissable and unforgettable but unfortunately smallpox sometimes ignored the rules.

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