Someone was hacking next to me today and I tried to hold my breath until I could run away from them. Reading about one plague a day is showing its consequences :/
A lone diseased Spaniard is believed to have introduced smallpox to the Incan society around 1525.
After being exposed to smallpox, the Aztec and Incan societies were devastated almost instantly. One year they were among the greatest civilizations in the world. The next year they basically didn’t exist.
Devastating. I thought the author did a better job with this section of the book, giving us a clearer understanding of the symptoms:
Once someone is infected they develop a fever—up to 104 degrees—which is sometimes accompanied by vomiting. Then they break out in a rash, which turns into bumpy pustules filled with clear liquid or pus. These later crust over and fall off, leaving pox marks on the skin.
and how it was combated:
Variolation generally entailed finding someone suffering from smallpox, drawing blood or fluid from one of their pustules, and injecting it into an uninfected person.
Jenner called the technique vaccination, as vacca was the Latin word for “cow".
This is also the disease that we see reach into more of modern recorded history, so go figure :) The absolute devastation this caused is hard to read about, whole civilizations ended, with some help of Spaniards but still, makes you think about the edge we all rest on.
I enjoyed the more informative look into small pox, even though I already knew some it, milk maids saved the world!, but it was still kind of fun to see how people worked the problem and followed the trail from cow pox to vaccinations. I am also endlessly fascinated by immunity and how it can be passed on, which I thought the author did a good job simplifying and giving us a bare bones a to b explanation.
Vaccinating most of the population protects the very young and vulnerable people of all ages who cannot be safely vaccinated.
If the author's sassy and sarcasm hit hard on Wakefield (wrote paper claiming vaccinations could cause autism) and in turn Jenny, I'm ok with that because paid for pseduo-science needs to be hit hard with the harm it can do.
Think of what it might have been like when 30 to 90 percent of your friends and family died, because that was the world before vaccines.
Vaccinations, they are needed and quite frankly, wanted by me.