Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page

ALTERATION OF LOCAL AREAS.

Advertising

CYMANFA GANU AT LLANSAMLET.

A BRIDGEND ' HOUSE OWNER FINED.

ALLEGED ATTEMPTED SUICIDE…

HISTORY OF SMALL-POX.

News
Cite
Share

HISTORY OF SMALL-POX. [BY Miss WARLOW, LONDON, W. Small-pox, or variola, is one of a group of kindred diseases, the offspring of filth, and which are nam-jd zymotic. The first account known of small-pox is in a Chinese book dated A.D. 1323. It seems that the disease had been known in Chini since the ninth century, and it is probable that it appeared in Europe at about the same time. but only as an occa- sional visitor. Towards the end of the 17th century it had made itself quite at home in Great Eritain and was universally dreaded. No wonder, fur the medical treatment of the disease wa* w-11 calcu- lated to increase its terrors. The wretched patients were cooped up in hot rooms, from which light and air were carefully excluded, no drop of water was allowed to cool their parched tongues. 11J the words of Sir Walter Scott the ancient mode of treating the small-pox was to refuse the patient everything which Nature urged him to desire and, in particular, to confine him to heated rooms, beds loaded with blankets, and spiced wine, when Nature called for cold water and fresh air.' even than all this was the want of cleanliness, all through the illness no drop of water, v. unn or cold, was allowed to touch; the pustules—the eruption. In confluent cases the pus was left till it became fetid and gradually dried into something like a plaster of Paris mask, which cracked here and there and broke off in pieces, taking skin aLd even flesh with it. and leaving the face hideously seamed and scarred. In 1718 Lady Mary Wortley Montague brought from Turkey a remedy against the worst evils of small- pox, which soon became very fashionable. It had always been observed that there were two kiuds of Miirtll-pox, one very slight and the other very severe; it was also seen that the disease seldom or never attacked the same person twice so as early as the ninth century some of the tribes in the centre of Asia had taken to cultivating the mild kind in the hope of keeping off the severe kind.This waS done by taking pus from the body of a person who had taken slight small-pox and putting it into the bodies of other persons. This inoculation of disease soon became very fashionable in Britua, and continued so for almost sixty years. By the end of that time people began to discover that small-pox was gaiuiog ground.; Dr Rask in 1/03 showed tint before inocu- lation was begun for every 1,000 births in London there were 96 deaths from small-pox, whereas after inoculation began the number rose to 127 per 1.000 births so that between 1,721 and 1,753 the unclean practice had caused the death of 22,70,) persons in London alone. In 180G Dr Letsom quoted a Par- liamentary return to the effect th3t in the 42 years before inoculation vas used 72 deaths per 1.000 were from small-pox whereas in the 42 years after it was used the rate rose to S9 per 1,000. This increase is of course lower than that given bv Dr Rask, because his figures were for London, and these are for the whole country, and country places were much less inoculated than towns. It is well known that pro- fessional men of all sorts are naturally conservative, and medical men were very slow to acknowledge the failure of a measure they had been brought up to believe in, but at last even their eyes were opened. and Medicine,' to use Sir J. Simons' words, was baffled and helpless.' In 1793 a way of escape was opened by Dr Hay garth, who proposed a plan of isolation under fixed rules, highly approved of at the present time by Profesf-or Crookshank. Things move so slowly in England that before legislation had sanctioned this plan the attention ot Parliament and the country was distracted by nJWS of a dis- covery that promised to abolish small-pox for ever and entirely. It wes in 1798 that Dr Edward Jenner published his Enquiry.' Jenner was a Gloucestershire practitioner, and of course Knew the country tradition that milkmaids with a particular sort of [.ore on their hands never cau ht small-pox. This sore originated with horses suffering from what farriers ei.11 I the grease being turned out to gra^s in the same field with cows. When the same man who tended the horses milked the cows, without washing his hands between the two operations, sores often broke out on the cows' udders, which infected the dairymaids who milked them and while these sores remained unhealed on their hands it is quite probable that they would be safe from all other skin diseases. It was, however, wen-known that when an epidemic of small-pox carne milkmaids whose sores had healed were no better off than their neigh- bours. Notwithstanding this Jenner was not dis- couraged. He procured a young horse, kept him constantly in the stable and fed him on beans in order to make his heels swell,'and carried on experi- ments which satisfied himself. Owing to his ignor- ance of the fact that cow-pox and small-pox are distinct diseases, he believed that pus taken from a cow infected by horse-grease and put into a human body would be an effectual antidote to the infection I of small-pox. He staked his professional credit on the ridiculous assertion That a single insertion of the vaccine virns into a person's body will protect I that person from small-pox for a lifetime.' This was soon disproved by many conspicuous cases of small-pox among persons vaccinated by Jenner himself. In 1815 Sir Walter Scott wrote to Lady Abercorn:-My oldest boy has contrived to have a decided small-pox, in defiance not only of vaccina- tion, buc inoculation thereafter. I propose to exhibit him along with the Indian jugglers who have just arrived as the youngster that has had the small-pox naturally after both vaccination and inoculation. I trust this matter will be closely looked after by medical men.' Jenner had, of course, many opponents among doctors, but be had influential supporters his Enquiry' was dedicated to the King' the next year H.R.H the Duke of Clarence had his children vaccinated by Jenner, and the world of fashion (always thankful for a break in the drearv monotonv of Soeiety life, and always credulous believers in every novelty) became enthusiastic Jennerians. In 1800 Dr Ring and almost all the doctors in London signed a testi- monial in which they declared vaccinated persons perfectly secure from the future infection of the small-pox.' In 1808 the National Vaccine Estab- lishment was started, and in 1840 provision was made for vaccination being paid for out of the poor- rates. Jenner received from our grateful country sums of money amounting in all to £ 30,000. (To be continued.)

BRYNDU COLLIERY COMPANY.

WAGES CLAIM BY TONDU WORKMEN.…

MARRIED LIFE AT MAESTEG.

CDYCHUHCH.

Advertising

PARISH AFFAIRS AT PORTHCAWL.