Chapter

A Shot at Protection: Immunizations Against Infectious Disease

Alan R. Hinman and Walter A. Orenstein

in Silent Victories

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195150698
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.04
 A Shot at Protection: Immunizations Against Infectious Disease

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Edward Jenner, an 18th century English physician, observed that milkmaids who had recovered from cowpox, did not have the facial scars of smallpox. In 1796, he demonstrated that inoculation of a susceptible individual with material from a cowpox lesion protected against smallpox. The next vaccination (against rabies) was introduced 100 years later. The pace of vaccine introduction then increased with a marked acceleration in the introduction of new vaccines in the last years of the 20th century. The widespread use of vaccines has had a dramatic impact on the occurrence of infectious diseases in the United States. This chapter describes the progress made as a result of immunization as well as the challenges remaining to realize the full current and future potential of immunizations. It focuses on smallpox, poliomyelitis, and measles, and briefly addresses other vaccine-preventable diseases of childhood.

Keywords: 20th century; public health; history; immunization; vaccination; smallpox; measles; polio; childhood diseases; disease eradication

Chapter.  8235 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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