Smallpox and Vaccination

Archibald Welch
1849 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
State of New York, on tlie subject of smallpox and varioloid [see page 109], was a very interesting document. It is mot only valuable to the profession, but the views and information communicated to the faculty ought to be read by all classes of the community. That smallpox, and its accompanying disease, varioloid, have been within the last few years alarmingly on the increase, is too well known to be questioned. The causes and the remedy are not sufficiently understood by those who are deeply
more » ... ose who are deeply interested in this matter. During the months öf March and May, 1348, thirteen cases of smallpox and varioloid occurred in the village of Wethersfield, where I was then in practice. Six of (¡he «ases were in the Connecticut State Prison, the medical department of which was then under my care. The first was a convict who had never been vaccinated, and had been in prison eight years. This case was followed by five of varioloid, more or less severe. I allude to these facts for the purpose of presenting the following, which go to disprove the popular and long cherished opinion •that the protective influence .of the vaccine disease is eradicated from the system in a few years after vaccination. As soon as I discovered that one of the convicts had smallpox, I vaccinated all in the institution (to the number of about two hundred), except one or two who bad -previously had small pox, and two insane convicts. All had been more •or less exposed to tlie disease, 'but nearly all of them had been vaccinated. 1 noted 'the name, age, and time of vaccination of each indi, vidual. The time which had elapsed since vaccination, varied from two ¡to forty years. Those who had been vaccinated thirty and forty years ago, were no more susceptible of the vaccine disease than those in whom the virus had been inserted within the last five or ten years-in fact, I -could discover no difference in regard to susceptibility ; from which I infer that the degree of protection which the system receives fi»m one vaccination (whatever the amount may be) is retained during life. That one vaccination will effectually protect the system, in all .cam^against smallpox, I have never believed.
doi:10.1056/nejm184905160401501 fatcat:yx4pbyp5gfg3tpuywvddchz64e