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Academic & Professional Books  Organismal to Molecular Biology  Microbiology

The Life and Death of Smallpox

Out of Print
By: Ian Glynn and Jenifer Glynn
288 pages, illus
Publisher: Profile Books
The Life and Death of Smallpox
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  • The Life and Death of Smallpox ISBN: 9781861976932 Paperback Dec 2005 Out of Print #155307
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About this book

No other disease has such a long, dramatic, and terrible history as smallpox. It is the first (and so far the only) disease to be totally eradicated. But the scourge may come back in biological warfare.

From ancient Egypt, India and China, smallpox spread around the world. It defeated armies, relieved sieges, killed emperors, played havoc with dynasties, helped to establish Buddhism in Japan, and at about the time of Muhammad's birth it stopped Christian Abyssinians from capturing a still pagan Mecca.

When individual epidemics were killing tens of thousands in the early 18th century, the adoption of the `folk-medicine' practice of inoculating with smallpox itself gave some protection to those inoculated - but at the cost of spreading the infection.

In the 1790s Edward Jenner's brilliant experiments in `vaccinating' with cowpox brought hope, not only of saving lives but also of eventually eradicating the disease. The practice spread round the world astonishingly fast. It took over two hundred years to achieve world-wide eradication; and it remains a magnificent and so far a unique scientific and political achievement. But now smallpox is one of the first choices for international bio-terrorism.

This book tells the fascinating and frightening story of this terrifying disease, from the pustules on the mummy of Ramses V to current anxieties - a brilliant mixture of history, science and politics.

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Out of Print
By: Ian Glynn and Jenifer Glynn
288 pages, illus
Publisher: Profile Books
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